Alan Pardew has warned Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs that they would have to pay a “very high price” for Yohan Cabaye – while also reminding the midfielder that he has a central role in his plans for next season.
One way or another, Cabaye has dominated the black and white agenda for the best part of a year and his name remains synonymous with some form of uncertainty as he heads for his third season as a Newcastle player.
It is an unfortunate development given his importance to Newcastle and boss Pardew, who knows that the team’s priority over pre-season is to strike on a system that allows them to dominate possession and set the tempo of matches on their own terms.
The Journal understands that one of the issues raised during the end-of-season meetings between Mike Ashley, Pardew and former managing director Derek Llambias was that United seemed to set up to combat the opposition’s tactics rather than setting out to play their own game.
The United manager sees a fit, focused and determined Cabaye as crucial to the solution to this.
But “focused, fit and determined” is part of the problem with Cabaye, who has seen speculation over his own future reach fever pitch since he left Tyneside in May.
Last summer he was courted by Tottenham and having been frustrated by Newcastle’s inability to secure a deal for his close friend Mathieu Debuchy, seemed prepared to entertain interest from elsewhere at one point. That frustration bled into his performances for the new campaign and he struggled to match the standards set in his first season.
Twelve months on he has made his future a matter for debate with ambigious comments while on international duty, but Pardew is certain about a number of things regarding Cabaye – chief of which is that Newcastle are under no pressure to sell.
And while Ashley’s decisions over the summer have created a measure of confusion over the club’s direction, there appears little doubt that Newcastle will continue to prove “difficult sellers” in the summer transfer market.
Pardew explained: “It’s a bit difficult for me to talk about Yohan when I haven’t seen him because he’s still away. We’ve trained for three really hard days here and the guys that have worked are looking great.
“The internationals are back on the 15th and I’ll sit down and talk to him about the comments that have come out.
“The bottom line is, though, he’s got a three-year contract with us still to run and I expect him to be a big part of our season next year. Hopefully he will be. He’s still very much in my plans but like any player at any club there is a price, but it’s going to be a very high price.”
The list of suitors for Cabaye has diminished by one, it appears, after well-placed sources at Monaco indicated that the mega-rich Ligue 1 club have ended their recruitment for the summer.
That still leaves Paris Saint-German, however, who are clearly monitoring Cabaye’s availability. Manager Laurent Blanc said over the weekend that Cabaye was an “interesting player”, which is something that irked Pardew.
“I don’t think that’s right. He can get on the phone to me, or make a bid. I think that’s the right way to do it,” the manager said.
Meetings next week are likely to dictate Cabaye’s plans but unless PSG actually table a bid, the midfielder is likely to stay at St James’ Park. There have certainly been no indications yet of a transfer request although Newcastle sources did anticipate that Joe Kinnear’s mispronunciation of his name might become an issue.
Cabaye did seek clarification over that in the days following but a bigger issue is likely to be whether Newcastle can give him the platform to play for France in the next World Cup. Pardew agrees.
He said: “I want to talk about this important year for him, with the World Cup at the end of it.”