NEWCASTLE UNITED are drawing up a list of potential replacements for Mathieu Debuchy if Paris St Germain look to reunite the full-back with Yohan Cabaye this summer.
With Newcastle sitting safely in mid-table and with little chance of securing a place in next season’s Europa League, greater attention is already being placed on the close-season.
Debuchy has been one of the Magpies’ most consistent performers this season and the mega-rich Parisiens have a long-standing interest in him.
And Newcastle found in January that PSG have the financial power to make a deal happen when they want to, given how Cabaye was lured by the prospect of playing Champions League football and pushing for honours together with more money.
Debuchy, a close friend of the former Newcastle skipper from their time together at Lille, is likely to find such a move just as appealing, although the North-East club would not allow him to go on the cheap.
TALENTED: Paris St Germain are known to be admirers of Newcastle United defender Mathieu Debuchy
Manager Alan Pardew has already recommended that his squad is strengthened before next season and the need for that could be heightened with uncertainty also surrounding Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor’s futures.
Chief scout Graham Carr has already compiled a list of potential targets in a variety of positions, with right-back an area under strong consideration given how Debuchy is the only recognised man to play in that position in the squad.
Ivory Coast’s Serge Aurier is one of the names in the frame and he fits the criteria Carr has been looking to adhere to under the Mike Ashley regime.
The 21-year-old is young, talented and has shown great potential for Toulouse, although he has also been identified as a potential replacement for Bacary Sagna at Arsenal.
Aurier is not the only player on Newcastle’s radar and discussions have already taken place at recruitment level to determine the course of action on the transfer front in the months ahead.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the futures of many Newcastle players, so Pardew and Carr will hold regular talks about the progress on the transfer front. Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse are two who could be sold at the right price.
But Pardew – who knows loan signings Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong would be expensive recruits - is determined to ensure Newcastle finish the season on a high and recover from the 4-0 drubbing at Southampton last weekend.
That reversal left Newcastle sitting in ninth, ten points adrift of the top six. If they can defeat Manchester United on Saturday, however, they will have closed the gap to the seventh-placed Premier League champions to five points.
Defender Mike Williamson is keen to see signs of recovery against David Moyes’ side this weekend, having been part of a defence which has conceded seven goals in two defeats to Everton and Southampton in Newcastle’s recent outings.
Williamson said: “It’s our next game. When any team comes to St James’ Park we feel as though if we play how we can do to our potential then we can get three points.
“Man United are still a quality team with quality players and it will be difficult but it’s down to us that we go about our jobs probably and do it right.”
Pardew will be in the Milburn Stand’s directors’ box at St James’ Park on Saturday serving the latest match of his ban for his headbutt on Hull City midfielder David Meyler last month.
And the referee who sent him off that afternoon, Kevin Friend, will be the man in the middle for the Manchester United fixture.
Pardew was not allowed near the stadium for the last home game – a 3-0 defeat to Everton – and he will serve the second of his four match touchline ban this weekend.