ALY Cissokho’s claim that Newcastle United are in talks to buy him are untrue, according to sources at St James’ Park.
The 24-year-old left-back’s absence from Lyon’s 1-0 defeat in Montpellier on Saturday prompted rumours the France international had travelled to Tyneside for a medical.
Cissokho denied a deal was that far advanced, but claimed the clubs were in dialogue. Newcastle sources have told The Journal that is not the case.
Newcastle enquired about Cissokho in the summer, but signed Internazionale defender Davide Santon instead. After a slow start while he learned English, and Premier League football, Italy’s Under-21 captain has impressed in the No.3 shirt since finally ousting Ryan Taylor.
Santon’s emergence does not preclude the signing of a left-back. Right-back Danny Simpson has for a long time been involved in a stand-off over an extension to his contract, which expires in the summer. He has been linked with a move to Fulham this month. Santon is more comfortable on the right – where he has played for his country’s senior side – than on the opposite flank, where he has not, and could therefore replace Simpson were a left-back to sign.
At present, though, Cissokho does not fit the bill.
Having gone into the transfer window expecting only to sign a striker, manager Alan Pardew has changed his tune. He is willing to look at any young player within his budget who he regards as representing value for money, but Lyon’s £10m price tag means Cissokho does not fall into that category.
Lyon need the money and revealed last week they are willing to sell, but their demands will have to fall significantly to pique the Magpies’ interest.
In the meantime Arsenal – whose need for a left-back is far more pressing – could make a move, having also been linked with the player. Cissokho acknowledged there are other clubs interested, though he only named Newcastle.
“I am waiting for the green light from Lyon,” revealed Cissokho, who missed the Montpellier game with what his agent called “a little calf injury”.
“I am a Lyon player and if they agree a fee with a club, I will then talk to that club.
“But nothing is done yet and I have not been to Newcastle for a medical.
“Newcastle and Lyon are talking about me, but there are other teams interested as well.”
Twice already Newcastle have denied any interest in a player despite his club claiming to have received a bid.
Dijon alleged they had rejected a “very high offer” for midfielder Benjamin Corgnet, while Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday a bid for Ravel Morrison had been dismissed by Manchester United. Newcastle refuted both stories.
Further adding to the confusion surrounding talented but troubled teenager Morrison, the attacking player took to Twitter yesterday to himself deny claims made about him by Ferguson. The 18-year-old refuted his manager’s suggestion in the same Press conference that he had rejected a contract offer.
Such claims and counter-claims make for a confusing picture.
There are reports in France that Newcastle had representatives at last week’s Coppa Italia match between Cesena and Napoli.
Yohan Benalouane, a 24-year-old centre-back with French and Tunisian heritage, was playing for Cesena.
Newcastle should discover their FA Cup fourth-round opponents tonight, with Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gustavo Poyet admitting the prospect of entertaining the Magpies adds incentive.
The Seagulls travel to Wrexham tonight for a third round replay. The prize is a televised evening game on January 28.
“The FA Cup is the best cup competition in the world and we want to get through, especially knowing the winners will play Newcastle,” said Poyet, whose two goals inspired Chelsea to victory over Newcastle in the 2000 FA Cup semi-final.