Newcastle United risk losing out on their preferred replacement for Yohan Cabaye unless they can persuade Florian Thauvin to join them over Marseille.
Newcastle have identified the 20-year-old as a potential successor to Cabaye, who looks set to leave this month with Arsenal’s controversial bid this week likely to flush out Paris Saint-Germain’s interest.
But while Lille would prefer to see Thauvin on Tyneside, the player favours Marseille. The French giants have already lodged two bids for Thauvin – one of the stars of this summer’s Under-20 World Cup – but Lille are reluctant to sell to a Ligue 1 rival.
Arsenal are also interested, and Newcastle will be doubly annoyed if the Gunners unsettle Cabaye, then sign the man earmarked to replace him if he goes to PSG instead.
Respected French sports paper L’Equipe say Thauvin is “determined” to push through a move to Marseille.
He is yet to play for Lille – from whom Newcastle also signed Cabaye – having been bought from Bastia in January and loaned straight back.
He has not yet featured this season as he is still getting up to speed after extra time off after his under-20 workload.
Thauvin is not Newcastle’s only option, with manager Alan Pardew reportedly watching Yoann Gourcuff play for Lyon against Real Sociedad last week, and interest in Marseille’s Dimitri Payet. On Friday Pardew identified midfield as Newcastle’s strongest department, though that was with the proviso they kept their existing players. No one else has the same playmaking qualities Cabaye can bring from the centre.
If (or more likely when) Cabaye goes, the money would not just be spent there, however, with Pardew also looking for a winger and a centre-forward.
He remains an admirer of Blackpool wideman Tom Ince, and has spoken of the need for more Englishmen in his squad. Ince came close to joining one of his dad and manager Paul’s former clubs – Liverpool – in the last transfer window. Newcastle scouts are also thought to have watched Maribor winger Agim Ibraimi in their midfield Champions League qualifier.
Valued at around £3m and aged 25, Macedonian Ibraimi is a classic Mike Ashley-era purchase. He has played for six clubs in the last seven years, as well as scoring five goals in 21 international appearances.
QPR’s reported interest in Shola Ameobi will only make it harder for Newcastle to end the month with more strikers than they started with.
The Magpies have signed Loic Remy on a season-long loan from QPR, although his debut has been delayed by a calf strain picked up before he signed. Those two, and Papiss Cisse, are Newcastle’s only real out-and-out strikers, although Yoan Gouffran is likely to play more down the middle, having mainly been used wide in a three-man forward line during his first half-season.
Newcastle retain an interest in Bafetimbi Gomis but for a deal to happen the players’ agents would have to lower their demands, and the Magpies are not hopeful of that happening before the September 2 transfer deadline.
Meanwhile, attacking midfielder Haris Vuckic is considering joining League One Bradford City on loan.
Vuckic has not played competitively for Newcastle since injuring his cruciate knee ligaments in October, although he did score in the pre-season friendly with Motherwell.
Vuckic has been training with the Bantams and played for them in Monday’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Accrington Stanley.
Youngsters Shane Ferguson (Birmingham City), James Tavernier (Shrewsbury), Mehdi Abeid (Panathinaikos), Michael Richardson (Accrington) and Adam Campbell (Carlisle United) have also been loaned out this summer.
Midfielder Brad Inman has joined Crewe Alexandra after the Railwaymen reached a compensation agreement with Newcastle. The Magpies released the 21-year-old this summer.