Alan Pardew has reinforced the urgent need for Newcastle United to resolve Yohan Cabaye’s future and replace him adequately should he leave St James’ Park, after it emerged the Frenchman is refusing to play for the club.
Arsenal lodged a £10 million bid for the midfielder last Monday, while Paris St Germain are also interested.
The Magpies are understood to value Cabaye closer to £18 million, and with the transfer window due to close a week today, Pardew continues to man-manage a delicate situation but is eager to reach its conclusion, either way, as soon as possible.
Though Cabaye has been training over the past week, it is thought he has become unsettled and distracted by the possibility of a move elsewhere, and remains in the wrong frame of mind to represent Newcastle.
As such, while Pardew would prefer to play his most creative attacking source, he has sat out the club’s Premier League fixtures against Manchester City and West Ham United, remains effectively unavailable for selection and almost certain to miss Wednesday’s Capital One Cup trip to Morecambe and Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to Fulham.
Two days after the latter, the opportunity for summer business ends. And, wary of a reprisal of the situation that saw Andy Carroll sold to Liverpool at such a late stage in January 2011 that no scope remained to replace him, United are understood to be working towards an in-house deadline of Friday to conclude any in or outgoing deals.
Pardew wrote in Saturday’s matchday programme: “We are looking to add a little flair to our line-up before the end of the window and hopefully we get those transfers completed.”
Any recruitment will inevitably be informed by Cabaye’s ultimate situation and, while his manager is carefully maintaining cordial relations with his star man lest the unlikely scenario arise that he is still a Newcastle United player come September 3, Pardew remains keen to add to his squad this week.
“We need a little bit more than Vurnon (Anita) and Cheick (Tiote) if we lose Cabaye, because he gives us that final, killer dagger to the heart of a pass,” he said.
“We have to replace that if he’s going to go, but we’re not sure either way.
“I think there will be a time, and this is the last thing I’m going to say on him, where we need to resolve that situation and I think this week is probably a good time to get that resolved.”
In Cabaye and Tiote absence, Anita was handed a rare start and impressed with a neat, if conservative, display.
“I said to him last year, with the pace of the Premier League, the to-ing and fro-ing, the power in the division, he needed to get a grip of it because last year it bypassed him at times.
“We’ve worked a little bit harder on him in the summer and talked about certain things, but he brought his game today, and when he brings his game to this team he can be an asset for us.
“He was definitely in the top two or three performances on the pitch for sure.
“He was close to starting at Manchester City.
“The situation we have at the club at the minute, he is very much a big part of what we are going to do.
“We’ve spent a lot of money on him and we’ve invested in him, and we’ve invested time in him to help him too.
“He couldn’t have done more today than he did.” Like his manager, Anita himself was pleased with his performance.
“As a player you always want to play, and against West Ham was my chance to play and show what I can do,” he said.
“I did my thing. It is up to the coach to decide if I play the next game or not. I feel like I did my best.
“I liked playing in that role alongside Moussa (Sissoko), but that’s not up to me.
“That’s up to the coach to decide. If he plays us, if he plays me, I am ready.”
Asked if he and his teammates are finding the lack of new signings at the club frustrating, Anita preferred to focus on Newcastle’s performance against the Hammers.
“Everybody is confident and good with each other, we all want to play,” he said.
“The second half we showed everybody that it is possible to get results also with this team. We must keep going.”