Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is bracing himself for developments in the Yohan Cabaye saga with the transfer deadline fast approaching.
The 27-year-old France international has been conspicuous by his absence in the Magpies' opening two games of the Barclays Premier League season amid reports that he refused to play against either Manchester City or West Ham after Arsenal formalised their interest in him.
The Gunners are yet to come anywhere near Newcastle's valuation of a player they snapped up from Lille for just £4.3million during the summer of 2011, but Pardew, who is already desperate to see director of football Joe Kinnear land reinforcements, is in no mood to be caught out as he was when Andy Carroll departed for Liverpool on the final day of the January window the same year.
Pardew told the Chronicle: "You can't say he is definitely going to stay, so the mindset of the player is such that we need to be on guard.
"We are on the case with that. We have to be armed. We need to resolve it.
"If he goes, good luck to him. Bye, bye. We need to replace him with somebody as good."
To date, Newcastle have added only one player to the squad which struggled to retain the club's Premier League status last season with Loic Remy joining from QPR on a season-long loan deal.
However, Remy is currently injured and indifferent performances against Manchester City and West Ham have left a fan-base already in revolt over Kinnear's appointment and the subsequent lack of investment in rebellious mood.
Many onlookers have viewed Kinnear's controversial return to St James' Park as undermining Pardew, but the 66-year-old has moved to dismiss any talk of a rift between himself and the manager.
He told the Daily Mirror: "We are working together - not plotting against each other.
"I don't understand where the negativity has come from - we are two games into a 38-game season and already the doom-and-gloom merchants are looking for a scapegoat."
Disgruntled supporters unfurled a banner during Saturday's 0-0 draw with the Hammers which read: 'Joe Kinnear, the clown of the Premier League', but the Irishman is remaining bullish.
He said: "Alan Pardew has signed 16 players costing £60million in the last two years, Newcastle United's wage bill is now comfortably in the top 10 in the country, and he will continue to get all the support the club can reasonably provide.
"Before the season started, we had sat down and agreed the squad was big enough, and strong enough, to finish in the top half of the table.
"But we are working together - not plotting against each other. There seems to be a perception, from outside the club, that we are at loggerheads, but I don't know why people are jumping on the bandwagon because it is a false picture."