Pardew planning to build team around wanted Carroll

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Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will attempt to recruit support for striker Andy Carroll rather than sell him when the January transfer window opens today.

The 21-year-old, who was yesterday ruled out of tomorrow's Barclays Premier League trip to Wigan with a thigh injury, has established himself as one of English football's hottest properties during the first half of the season and has been rewarded with 11 goals to date.

That has attracted the attention of potential purchasers with Tottenham reportedly ready to test the water with a 20m bid this month.

However, Pardew has repeatedly insisted that the Gateshead-born frontman is not for sale, and he will instead attempt to persuade owner Mike Ashley to allow him to bring in reinforcements to keep Carroll among the goals.

However, he stopped short of naming Tottenham striker Robbie Keane as his top target, and was not commenting on speculation that Leeds winger Max Gradel and Southampton's Jason Puncheon, currently on loan at Millwall, could be on his winter shopping list.

Pardew said: "Our priority if we can is to strengthen offensively, if possible, so that will be the area in which we are looking.

"I just think the market is going to be so tight and there are only going to be a few players on the market who could wear the Newcastle jersey, so it's a small market and we will have to compete and see if it works for us."

Asked about the rumours over players leaving St James' Park, Pardew replied: "I have actually got no problem with that.

"We are sound in terms of our players, but we want to add to the group if we can.

"We have got players we need to protect here and the media are quite ferocious about who is coming and who is going, so it's just about getting an even keel with the market and understanding where it is."

Despite Pardew's silence, Keane has been in Newcastle's sights for some time. Former boss Chris Hughton tried to sign the 30-year-old on loan during the summer, and it is understood they remain keen to secure his services on a similar basis.

However, Spurs are more interested in a permanent transfer amid speculation that West Ham, Birmingham and Wolves are also on the Republic of Ireland skipper's trail, and his wages could prove problematic even if the Magpies could come up with the fee.

Pardew said: "Any player of that sort of quality that becomes available, we would be interested in.

"Whether it is possible to bring them to the club for a number of reasons, we will have to see.

"But I am not going to go into individuals because we have had so many names thrown at us and so many of our players leaving, it is ridiculous to name them all, so I will pass on that one."

One man who could complete a move to Tyneside in January is French winger Hatem Ben Arfa, who suffered a double leg fracture after a loan move from Marseille.