Newcastle bide time in transfer window
Newcastle are gearing up for a tense conclusion to the January transfer window as they monitor a number of situations.
The Magpies began the month with director of football Joe Kinnear warning they may not make any new signings, while manager Alan Pardew once again voiced his hopes of hanging on to all his star men.
Three weeks on, there have been no arrivals or departures at St James' Park, but as Pardew learned within weeks of his arrival as manager in December 2010, that may not necessarily remain the case.
Indeed, the 52-year-old, who is currently on a warm-weather training camp with his players in Abu Dhabi, has developed something of a stock answer when asked about the transfer window.
He said at the weekend: "You never say never at this football club, for sure."
In 2011, the manager saw striker Andy Carroll sold to Liverpool for a staggering Â£35million on the final day of the winter window as owner Mike Ashley decided that offer was simply too good to refuse.
It was a decision which was greeted with fury by fans, but hindsight and Carroll's subsequent misfortunes have diluted that anger.
This time around, France midfielder Yohan Cabaye is the focus of attention and while there is no immediate appetite to cash in on a player whose performance in Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory at West Ham served to underline his quality, a similarly outrageous bid could not be allowed to pass unconsidered.
Reports in France have suggested cash-rich Paris St Germain are ready to tempt Newcastle with a cheque for as much as 30million Euros - around £24.7million - and way in excess of Arsenal's £10million summer offer for the 28-year-old, which was rejected out of hand.
PSG boss Laurent Blanc, who worked with Cabaye during his spell as manager of the national team, has refused to rule out an approach, although the Magpies are insistent that as yet, no such bid has been received.
Ashley's regime has worked hard to make the club self-sufficient and despite plunging it into a series of controversies along the way, has largely achieved its aim.
A return of that magnitude on a player who cost the Magpies £4.3million when he signed from Lille during the summer of 2011 would represent a spectacular piece of business, although it would deprive Pardew of the one player above all who makes his team tick, with the damage of his summer stand-off having been largely repaired by his performances since his return to the fold.
The manager is well aware that there is a value at which, should they go to that level, PSG - or indeed any other suitor - would get their man and, as a result, contingency plans have been drawn up.
Newcastle have been linked for much of the last few weeks with Montpellier midfielder Remy Cabella, who while not a direct replacement for Cabaye, is a long-term target.
However, despite indications from his father that he will join the club this month, it is understood the intention is to strike a deal for the summer.
Montpellier chairman Laurent Nicollin told www.midilibre.fr: "Discussions with leaders of Newcastle, as with other clubs, are open. We are ready to discuss. But a departure for Remy is not expected before June, it is a certainty."
Whether that situation would change should PSG formalise their interest in Cabaye remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Newcastle are pushing ahead with the main priority for this month, a deal to bring Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong to St James' Park.
The Magpies are keen to tie up an initial loan move for a player they tried to sign last summer, but negotiations have proved delicate and significant ground remains to be covered.
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