By Rob Stewart
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew will hold showdown talks with Jose Enrique over his long-term future amid continued speculation linking the unsettled Spanish left-back with Premier League rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, Goal.com can reveal.
Enrique has played hard to get ever since Newcastle took the first steps towards persuading him to sign a new contract but the issue is due to come to a head when the former Villarreal player reports for pre-season training on Monday.
It is understood that Newcastle have put a five-year contract on the table for Enrique to replace the current deal that has just one season to run but the player has so far refused to open any dialogue with Pardew or his Tyneside paymasters despite their recent overtures.
Enrique initially told Pardew that he would begin talks last season once the newly promoted club had secured their top-flight status, but then failed to fulfil his promise to the former West Ham manager when the club’s goal was met.
Since then the Valencia-born 25-year-old has maintained his silence throughout the close-season but he will be put on the spot by Pardew when his players begin their preparations for the forthcoming campaign this week at the club’s Benton training complex.
Enrique has been linked with a move to Liverpool and more recently Arsenal but so far Newcastle have not received any offers for a player who headed to the north-east of England in a £6-million deal with La Liga side Villarreal during Sam Allardyce’s reign as St James’ Park manager in 2007.
After a difficult first couple of seasons at Newcastle that saw the club relegated in acrimonious circumstances two years ago, Enrique found his feet in the Championship and then flourished when the club returned to the Premier League last year as Football League champions and became a popular figure with the club’s supporters.
However, the former Spain Under-21 international is keen to sample the delights of Champions League football and with that ambition in mind he has stalled on discussing a new contract which Pardew has claimed is “excellent”.
Amid all the uncertainty surrounding Enrique, Newcastle have made an unsuccessful £1m bid for Swansea left-back Neil Taylor and last month also registered an interest in Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge, who is surplus to requirements at Eastlands due to the imminent arrival of Gael Clichy.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are expected to step up their efforts to sign 24-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker Mevlut Erding in a £7.5m deal with the French club before heading off on a pre-season tour of the United States on July 17.