Alan Pardew insists it will be 'very, very difficult' for any clubs to sign Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote during the January transfer window.
The Ivory Coast international signed a new six-and-a-half year contract back in February, but has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the New Year.
Newcastle sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool for big money in the last January transfer window, while the likes of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique all left St James' Park in the summer.
However, while Pardew understands why Tiote will be coveted by some of the Premier League's biggest clubs, he is optimistic the player will be staying on Tyneside.
Pardew said: "He's a big target because he's a great player, and great players are going to be targets.
"We are always on our guard with Cheick because we realise that to us, he is very, very important and it would be very, very difficult to get him out of here."
The Newcastle boss knows a sizeable bid for Tiote or any other player - skipper Fabricio Coloccini and Danny Simpson are yet to agree new deals - could leave the club with another decision to make.
However, that offer would have to be significant and dwarf the £3.5million Newcastle paid FC Twente for the midfielder.
Pardew said: "You never know with the window. It's such a minefield of possibilities.
"We have one or two players here that top clubs, I'm sure, will be interested in, but the one thing I would say on that is that they are going to have to pay a lot of money to take anybody out of here because we are obviously in a good position, not just on the playing side, but financially as well.
"In terms of players coming in, there is certainly one player who will come in and we are hoping maybe two - if we don't lose anybody."
Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga is expected to join the club next month, although Pardew was shedding little light on that issue.