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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Arsene Wenger's hidden gem

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Pardew positive for new season

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew feels he already effectively has five new signings at his disposal as his search for new talent continues.

Toon expect Enrique back

Newcastle have landed Yohan Cabaye and free transfers Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux since the end of last season, and are still working on their remaining targets.

However, with Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling now back to full fitness, Pardew is also looking forward to seeing what they can bring to the squad.

He told the club's official website: "I am really pleased with the way the squad is taking shape. I'm excited. You could say we have got five new players who we didn't have last year.

"We have obviously lost Kevin Nolan, but we have gained Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux - and then there is Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling.

"Hatem could be the best signing if he stays fit all year, and we are looking forward to seeing what Dan can do as well."

Nolan's £4 million departure for West Ham after he was unable to agree a new deal at St James' Park came as a blow in the wake of Andy Carroll's defection to Liverpool in January, and with the futures of Jose Enrique and Joey Barton still uncertain, there is a growing disquiet in certain quarters that the proceeds do not appear to have been reinvested yet.

Cabaye cost a little more than the fee Newcastle received for Nolan, so there has been little additional outlay, while owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias are doggedly sticking to their policy of trying to get the best possible value for the club's money.

However, Pardew always knew his transfer kitty would also have to cover the wages of his signings, so marquee acquisitions were always unlikely.

The Magpies have registered their interest in the likes of Kevin Gameiro, Gervinho and Mevlut Erding in the hunt for a replacement for Carroll, but have to date been thwarted and the search goes on.

Tranquillo Barnetta, Blaise Matuidi, Charles N'Zogbia and Darron Gibson are among the midfield players they have considered, while their approach for Swansea full-back Neil Taylor was rebuffed earlier this week and they are currently assessing their options on that front.

However, with work behind the scenes continuing, Pardew has been delighted with the business he has been able to do to date.

He said: "Cabaye is a ball-manoeuverer, someone who can work the ball and make a pass that has an incisiveness to it. He can unlock the door and comes to us full of confidence on the back of winning the league and cup double with Lille.

"Ba is an out-and-out goalscorer, a winner and will certainly give everything he's got. I expect him to get between 15 and 25 goals this year.

"Marveaux has impressed and, because of his contract situation, he didn't play a lot last season, but that means he comes to us fresh. We think there is a lot to come from him.

"He works off the left-hand side as a rule, can play off either foot and will certainly give us competition for [Jonas] Gutierrez and Joey [Barton] on both flanks. They are really nice options for us.

"The only way the players are good value is if they are a big success for the team, and hopefully they will be, playing at a venue as big as Newcastle."

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