Newcastle United appear to be engaged in a game of brinkmanship with Lyon over Bafétimbi Gomis. Although they have withdrawn from negotiations following the rejection of their near-£7m bid for the 27-year-old striker, Newcastle's offer remains on the table and it seems a case of who holds their nerve for longest.
Matters are complicated by interest from Marseille and Fulham in the striker known as "Baby Drogba" throughout France but Gomis has only 12 months remaining on his contract and Lyon's determination to hold out for nearer £9m looks unrealistic.
Newcastle's slow progress in the transfer market is becoming an increasing source of frustration to Alan Pardew, who had hoped Joe Kinnear, the new director of football, would have signed two strikers by now.
Indeed, after "leaving Joe to get on with it", Newcastle's manager had been very optimistic of welcoming a new arrival over the weekend. Instead Pardew will now "seek answers" from Kinnear.
Newcastle remain the only Premier League team not to have signed a senior player this summer. A move for Aston Villa's Darren Bent seems to have stalled and, while there are advanced talks with QPR about taking Loïc Rémy on loan, the lack of activity is causing rising concern. The news that Kinnear is exploring the option of recruiting the Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley has underwhelmed fans.
Should Rémy, who almost joined Newcastle from Marseille in January before QPR hijacked the near-£9m deal, bolster Pardew's attack, Newcastle would be unlikely to shoulder the forward's entire £70,000 weekly wage at QPR. An added complication is that Rémy is on bail after being arrested on suspicion of rape in May, an allegation that he denies.
At least Papiss Cissé will return to Pardew's attack in a friendly at St Mirren on Tuesday after ending his exile from the Newcastle squad. The 28-year-old Muslim has not been involved in the club's pre-season fixtures owing to his refusal to wear the club's Wonga-sponsored shirt and training kit because they clashed with his religious and personal beliefs.
Pardew could not be more delighted with Cissé's return. "I'm pleased," he said. "It's been a difficult time for Papiss and now we rally round him and support him."
A turbulent summer at St James' has left many supporters disgruntled, most notably with Kinnear's appointment, but the club have attempted a rapprochement by reinstating their fans' forum that last operated during the 2008-09 season. Fifteen fans will sit alongside seven club officials and sponsors' representatives to discuss issues and attempt to find solutions and achieve compromises.