NEWCASTLE UNITED are hoping to finalise the signing of Remy Cabella next week despite Montpellier's vice-chairman revealing the French club had rejected the Magpies' latest bid this evening.
After a day of intense cross-Channel negotiations, Montpellier turned down Newcastle's offer of around £6.5m, which would potentially have risen further with add-ons.
Laurent Nicollin has suggested that Cabella will cost around £12m if he is to move this summer, a price tag that would put him beyond Newcastle's reach.
However, senior Newcastle officials are quietly confident that a deal can be agreed, and believe that Nicollin is merely trying to squeeze every last penny out of a potential agreement.
Further talks are planned for the weekend, and the Magpies remain hopeful that they will be given formal permission to talk terms with Cabella and his representatives next week.
"We have received two or three offers, including one for 8m Euros that does not match our expectations," said Nicollin tonight. "The president (Louis Nicollin) spoke of 15m Euros."
The two parties have been here before, with Newcastle pulling the plug on a potential deal in January after they grew frustrated at a lack of clarity over who exactly was representing Cabella, and a lack of consistency over what Montpellier were demanding during discussions.
Some of those issues have been resolved, although with competing interest from a number of clubs in both England and France, Montpellier officials will still feel they hold a relatively strong hand as they head into talks.
Nevertheless, there is a sense of confidence within St James' Park that a deal will be concluded shortly, enabling the Magpies to confirm Cabella as the first official signing of what is likely to be a hectic summer.
Newcastle are also expected to confirm the ﾣ1.6m capture of Tenerife forward Ayoze Perez when the transfer window officially opens next month.
However, their pursuit of Jack Colback looks like ending in disappointment as the Sunderland midfielder is edging towards a deal with West Ham United.
Colback's representatives have spoken to a number of Premier League clubs, but Upton Park has emerged as the North-Easterner's preferred destination.
Similarly, Newcastle look like missing out on another of their midfield targets, Clement Grenier, as the 23-year-old is close to completing a move from Lyon to Roma.