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Stoke settle in, seek away breakthrough

Stoke City

Pardew denies Enrique is set for Anfield

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has denied there is a deal in place to sell in-demand Spanish full-back Jose Enrique to Liverpool.

• New York Times has stake in Liverpool
• Thompson: Enrique set for Reds

Liverpool old boy Phil Thompson said in a television interview over the weekend he understood a deal had been done, a claim on which the Magpies were not prepared to comment on. The former Villarreal full-back has also put talks over a new contract on hold.

Pardew is adamant that a player who has been a star performer this season does have a future on Tyneside.

"There's definitely no deal between the clubs - 100%," told the Evening Chronicle. "He's under contract here until next summer and we hope to open talks on a new deal as soon as possible. That's where we are.

"We want to keep our best players, and Jose's one of them. As far as anything being a done deal, that's not true. We want Jose to stay. Nothing's changed."

Striker Andy Carroll was ultimately prised out of the manager's grasp by the Reds' £35million January bid after repeated assurances he was going nowhere and the England international had signed a new long-term contract just months earlier.

Newcastle had hoped both Enrique and midfielder Joey Barton would sign new contracts at the turn of the year, but the defender, having been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich and AC Milan, decided to wait until after the club's Premier League status was assured.

Barton also decided not to commit himself in the wake of Carroll's departure, preferring instead to wait for the club to persuade him of their ambition by tying up the likes of Enrique and skipper Kevin Nolan as well as targeting new signings during the summer. Enrique, however, after some prime performances this season is a player likely to far more in demand.

Meanwhile, the Magpies have been handed a boost by the news a scan on striker Shola Ameobi's knee injury has revealed no lasting damage.

The 29-year-old missed Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa because of the problem, but he is expected to return to full training by the weekend and could be in contention for Tuesday night's clash with leaders Manchester United.


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