Byline: Mark Douglas
NEWCASTLE United battened down the hatches yesterday in the wake of criticism over their inability to land a striker to replace Andy Carroll.
The mood on Tyneside was one of resignation and anger after the club failed in bids to sign either Modibo Maga or Bryan Ruiz - along with Birmingham defender Liam Ridgewell. But there was no official word from the club as they looked to answer accusations of lack of ambition and failure to deliver the striker they had consistently suggested would be recruited. The Journal understands United are hoping to release a statement to supporters today, but a frustrated Alan Pardew has opted not to comment and to keep his counsel. No official Press conference has been called due to the international break.
Newcastle's determination not to stray from a policy that was set out at the end of the Championship-winning season was behind their failure to land either Maga or Ruiz. The club say they will not pay over the odds for players, but a more forensic explanation is required.
Senior sources at United told The Journal that the club came closest to securing Maga on a day of frustration at St James' Park.
Managing director Derek Llambias was in London ready to board a plane to Paris to tie up that deal, before the player's club, Sochaux, pulled the plug in the afternoon, apparently without a full explanation for Newcastle.
That prompted a enquiry about Ruiz, who was close to moving to Fulham when United began to talk to FC Twente about a deal for the Costa Rica striker.
But despite the club saying they agreed terms with the Dutch club, there was never a realistic chance of landing the winger-cum-forward - who may not have even been aware of the possibility of a St James' Park switch after extensive discussions with Martin Jol. …