PARIS ST GERMAIN will test Newcastle United’s resolve to hold on to Yohan Cabaye by tabling a £21m bid for the French midfielder.
While Newcastle officials continue to insist there has been no formal offer for Cabaye, who is currently at a training camp in Abu Dhabi with the majority of his Magpies team-mates, a formal approach from the French capital is believed to be imminent.
The Paris St Germain hierarchy have pledged to back Laurent Blanc in the transfer market this month, with the former centre-half having identified Cabaye as his preferred midfield target over the weekend.
The pair worked together while Blanc was in charge of the French national side, and an injury to Adrien Rabiot has convinced Blanc to make a move this month rather than wait until the summer in an attempt to secure a cheaper deal.
Cabaye’s creative qualities have elevated him above Juventus’ Paul Pogba on Blanc’s wanted list, with the Newcastle midfielder’s availability for the latter stages of the Champions League another key factor in his favour.
“It would be good to recruit a player in the heart of the game, and have an extra player in midfield,” said Blanc, at a scheduled press call with the French media. “We need a player who has the same mentality as the others when they are playing or on the bench.
“He must be technically good and be tough, and whether this player comes or does not come, there will be competition in all positions. I’ve been saying it for a month and a half, but the injury to Adrien makes it more urgent to have an extra player in midfield.”
When asked specifically about Cabaye, the PSG boss added: “I ask myself the question, I know the man well. He has that kind of character, but there are others.”
Alan Pardew has continually claimed he will do everything in his power to keep Cabaye on Tyneside this month, and director of football Joe Kinnear is also determined to keep the current squad intact until the end of the season.
Whether that makes any difference if Mike Ashley receives a formal offer remains to be seen, but it is believed that all of Newcastle’s power brokers would rather do their business in the summer rather than attempt to rush through deals in the final fortnight of the January window.
While Remy Cabella would not be a like-for-like replacement for Cabaye, the Montpellier attacking midfielder has been identified as the club’s preferred purchase in the event of Cabaye leaving.
There have been a series of talks between Newcastle officials and their counterparts at Montpellier, although they have primarily been centred around a potential deal in the summer rather than anything happening this month.
Montpellier would like to keep Cabella for the next four months as they attempt to ward off the threat of relegation from Ligue 1, while Newcastle believe they can strike a better deal at the end of the season.
Their stance might change if Cabaye was to leave in the next fortnight, which explains why the lines of dialogue remain open. At this stage, however, the preferred option would be for both players to remain where they are until June.
“We have an agreement with the leaders of Newcastle that I will not reveal,” said Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin. “But it does not include a departure from Remy before June, it is a certainty.”
Newcastle’s transfer hierarchy continue to discuss Luuk de Jong’s future with officials at Borussia Monchengladbach, although an agreement remains elusive.
The Magpies are pushing for a loan with a view to a permanent deal in the summer, but Monchengladbach would either like a £10m transfer now or a swap deal involving Papiss Cisse.
Newcastle’s players travelled to Abu Dhabi for a week-long break on Saturday evening, and a picture posted by Paul Dummett on his Instagram account revealed a group visited Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, yesterday.
However, Pardew has defended the trip, claiming it had been arranged long before Newcastle suffered an FA Cup third-round defeat at the hands of Cardiff City.
“It was scheduled in to give us a lift for the fourth round of the FA Cup if I’m honest,” said Pardew. “We used to do that at Crystal Palace. It was already booked. It’s a trip to work physically and mentally with sun on your back.”