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16 June 2011, 10:47
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has promised exciting times lie ahead at St James' Park after skipper Kevin Nolan completed his move to West Ham.
Pardew had hoped to tie his captain to a new deal along with fellow key players Joey Barton and Jose Enrique, but his plans have been thrown into disarray by the club's refusal to hand out long-term contract extensions to 28-year-olds Nolan and Barton, while the Spaniard is yet to respond to his offer.
Coupled with the disappointment of seeing striker Andy Carroll sold to Liverpool in January after insisting he was going nowhere, Pardew faces a fight to persuade disgruntled fans that the Magpies can build upon an encouraging first season back in the Barclays Premier League.
However, he is confident that the men he has in his sights as he attempts to strengthen his squad will impress the supporters.
He said: ``We are looking to complete on a number of deals over the next month or so and I am sure with the quality of signings I anticipate coming into the club, we should look forward to exciting times in the upcoming season as we look to establish the club as a genuine force in the top half of the Premier League.''
To that end, Senegal striker Demba Ba, who scored seven times in 13 appearances for the Hammers during the second half of last season, was due on Tyneside today as Newcastle attempted to fend off interest from elsewhere.
In addition, they are closing in on Swansea full-back Neil Taylor and are exploring their interest in a series of other players, including, but not only, Paris St Germain striker Mevlut Erding, Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta and St Etienne counterpart Blaise Matuidi.
Nolan's expressed sadness at leaving Tyneside for a fee which is undisclosed, but which it is understood could eventually amount to around £4million, although he expressed his satisfaction with the five-year deal handed to him by the npower Championship Hammers.
He told the club's official website, www.whufc.com: ``I'm very sad to leave Newcastle, but I'm coming to another massive club in my eyes and hopefully I can start off and be as successful as I was there.''
He added, somewhat pointedly: ``The be-all and end-all was that the club actually wanted me and the owners put faith in me and have given me a security of contract. Now it's my time to repay them and hopefully I will do that.''