Alan Pardew has admitted that Jose Enrique will leave Newcastle this summer, with Liverpool and Arsenal both favourites to take on the star left-back, according to the Daily Mirror.
Enrique has long looked set for an exit from Newcastle, and while the Spaniard has been connected to a move to Liverpool for months, now that Arsenal have lost Gael Clichy, the London club are on the lookout for a replacement left-back.
Pardew revealed yesterday that while Joey Barton, another Arsenal target, will most likely stay at Newcastle next season, Enrique will probably make the move to another club in search of trophies.
“Joey seems pretty focused on Newcastle whereas the noises coming out of Jose's camp are that he wants to get a new club [that is] playing Champions League football,” Pardew said.
"We cannot offer him that at the moment, so that seems to be his focus. Hopefully that will change.
“It is a moving feast. We have got to be ready because if he goes, it is going to leave a big hole in the team and we need to fill it quickly. But he does travel to the United States with us.
“It is not ideal for us, as you can imagine. It is difficult. We have offered him a massive contract for this football club and he does not seem to want to sign it, so it is a very difficult position.”
Pardew said that Liverpool and Arsenal have yet to make a formal offer for Enrique, but Newcastle are still planning to lose the star, who shone for the north-eastern side last season.
“We have had no concrete offers, but we are going to try and have contingency plans in place so that if we do lose X, then Y comes in,” Pardew said.
"We are going to have to give ourselves some sort of chance, so that [a deadline-day exit like Andy Carroll’s to Liverpool in January, which left Newcastle with no time to buy a replacement] does not happen again.
"We not want to be in the same position as last time.”
Pardew’s comments would most certainly pose Arsenal as favourites over Liverpool to sign Enrique, who cannot offer European football. But with a £8 million price tag over Enrique’s head, Liverpool could be able to outbid Arsenal with their higher budget, giving Pardew more leeway as he searches for a new left-back.