playmaker Yohan Cabaye this month, leaving Paris St Germain as the front-runner for the player’s signature.
Despite monitoring Cabaye’s performances this season, Manchester United manager David Moyes is thought to have decided there are better alternatives around as he weighs up a huge bid for Chelsea’s unsettled Juan Mata.
Newcastle want at least double – and probably more – than the £10m they rejected when Arsenal tried to land the Frenchman last August and that has cooled the red Devils’ interest.
The situation is a boost to Magpies boss Alan Pardew, who hopes to still have Cabaye in his squad when the transfer window closes on January 31.
Moyes accepts that one of Manchester United’s biggest problems is a lack of creativity following the retirement of Paul Scholes – and that was an area he failed to improve during the summer transfer window.
But he is determined to make sure he does not suffer similar frustration when the winter window closes at the end of this month.
Mata, who would reportedly cost more than the club record £30.7m United paid for Dimitar Berbartov in 2008, is one of the leading contenders to be bought ahead of Cabaye.
Pardew, however, is also aware of the strong interest in Cabaye from Paris. Laurent Blanc, the Parisiens’ coach, is desperate to take the player to the Parc des Princes and there is expected to be an initial offer of £21m tabled soon.
The future of Cabaye will determine what happens on the incomings transfer front at St James’ Park in the next nine days. Montpellier’s Remy Cabella would likely be the replacement if a move did take place.
But the likeliest arrival at the moment is Luuk De Jong. Talks have been ongoing with Borussia Monchengladbach in the hope of striking a loan deal until the end of the season, although the German club would prefer to strike a permanent deal; possibly involving Papiss Cisse.
Pardew would prefer not to lose any of his players until the summer while adding to his numbers, so that Newcastle would have a greater chance of closing the gap to the top four.
Newcastle are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool and the manager thinks he knows exactly why the same group of players are performing better this season compared to last.
Pardew, whose side are in Abu Dhabi on a week’s training break ahead of next Tuesday’s trip to Norwich City, said: “The difference is, I know I keep banging on about it, that with the squad that we have, the size of the squad, it is working the first team and we can do that this year.
“We had no Europa League game last week and we could obviously get that little extra rest building up to the game at West Ham. You get that extra work on the training ground too.
“We really focused on our three midfield players building up to West Ham to dominate that area and I thought that came through.
“We were terrific in the first half particularly. We are feeling really good about the season and looking forward to the second half of the season.”