ALAN Pardew put a central defender at the top of his shopping list for the January sales – after the club agreed a fee for Mathieu Debuchy.
Pardew’s desperate for defensive reinforcements after seeing his side beaten 7-3 by Arsenal on Saturday.
And right-back Mathieu Debuchy is set for talks over a personal terms over the next 48 hours after Newcastle agreed a £5m fee with Lille.
United tried and failed to sign Debuchy – and FC Twente centre-half Douglas – in the summer, and a lack of numbers in defence has come back to haunt the club.
The long-term injuries to Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor have been compounded by shorter-term problems and suspensions.
Newcastle’s form in the Premier League has suffered, and the capitulation to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium left the club 15th in the division ahead of Wednesday night’s home game against Everton.
Pardew told the Gazette: “I think at the top of my list is a defender. Full stop. Any defender.
“We’re pretty clear on where we’re going. It’s difficult with negotiations – they aren’t easy. It isn’t really my department.
“I just cross my fingers, and hope somebody walks in.”
In the absence of experienced cover, Pardew has turned to the club’s reserve team, and Shane Ferguson and James Tavernier came off the bench against Arsenal.
“Without Ryan Taylor and Steven Taylor we’re looking at Tav and Fergie, and blooding them in,” he added.
“They shouldn’t be here at this level – they should be in the development side, or in the Championship learning their trade.
“Throwing them in during these games is not easy.”
United now face Everton needing three points to avoid dropping into the relegation zone, a situation Pardew labels as “desperate”.
“On Wednesday we’ll be stronger, and then we can look at the season in a brighter light,” said Pardew.
“I think Cabaye will come back, and Steven Taylor isn’t too far away.
“A new signing or two, and suddenly it doesn’t look as desperate. At the minute, it looks desperate.”