Pardew gives up on Grenier ahead of derby
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is facing a major post-season rebuilding process after admitting defeat in his attempts to sign France international Clement Grenier in the January transfer window.
Lyon are holding out for more than the Premier League club's �9 million ($15m, 11m euros) bid for the 23-year-old, who they want to fill the void left by Yohan Cabaye, following the midfielder's high-profile �19 million move to Paris St Germain.
A downbeat Pardew held out little hope of an immediate addition to the arrival of Borussia Monchengladbach loan forward Luuk de Jong, the Dutchman who is set for a place on the bench as Newcastle host local rivals Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby on Saturday.
With the transfer window closing on January 31, Pardew's focus on squad-strengthening has already shifted to the summer, where he hopes to be able to invest the money received for Cabaye into shaping the third 'version' of his Newcastle side since taking charge at the end of 2010.
"Having this team with Yohan in the number 10 role was the way I like to play," Pardew said.
"Targeting Grenier is also around that theme of a team that can pass the ball quickly and work between the lines. That's what I'm going to aim for in the summer."
The latest Tyne-Wear derby has been almost an afterthought, with both clubs experiencing hectic spells in the final week of the window.
Nevertheless, with Newcastle eighth in the top flight and Sunderland in 17th place, two points above the relegation zone, there is more than just local pride to play for at St James' Park this weekend.
But the hosts will be without 11-goal top scorer Loic Remy after they failed with an appeal to get the Frenchman's red card received in the midweek goalless draw against Norwich overturned.
Papiss Cisse, the Senegal forward, is rated 50-50 due to a back problem, but Yoan Gouffran is again sidelined through injury.
Sunderland made Argentinian Ignacio Scocco their fourth signing this month after the forward joined from Brazilian club Internacional in a �3 million deal.
This weekend's match could be his first taste of one of English football's most raucous derbies, with Sunderland going in search of their third succesive win over Newcastle.
A late goal from Italian forward Fabio Borini sealed a 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season, and Newcastle are still smarting from the 3-0 home defeat inflicted by their local rivals last April.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson found the net in that stand-out win under former head coach Paolo Di Canio, and the England midfielder said: "There will be a few (Newcastle) players wanting to get one over us after what happened last year.
"There'll be a hostile reception for us, but it's all part of the game and it's what you play for... I wouldn't have it any other way."
Johnson has played a major role in Sunderland securing a place in the League Cup final thanks to a run of just two defeats in 13 games that has also seen them climb out of the Premier League bottom three for the first time in five months.
He has scored five goals in his last three league games, including the only goal in the midweek victory over Stoke City.
"I'm in a bit of good form right now and I hope it continues," Johnson said. "I honestly haven't changed anything or done anything differently at all.
"I've always been confident in myself but things just weren't coming off for me. I've just kept working hard. You don't turn into a bad player overnight and thankfully my best form's returned."