MONACO increased the uncertainty about Yohan Cabaye’s future after they went public with their admiration for the Newcastle United midfielder.
The super-rich Ligue 1 club have been linked with Cabaye for some time, and comments by the club’s chief executive will only heighten the speculation that they will target him as their next signing.
Monaco surprised the football world when they spent £50m on Atletico Madrid’s much-coveted Radamel Falcao, then followed it up by signing James Rodríguez and João Moutinho and Ricardo Carvalho. The first pair cost £60m from Porto.
Also on their shopping list is Eric Abidal, the French defender released by Barcelona. He is another for whom Vadim Vasilyev expressed his fondness.
But it is his passing reference to Cabaye which will most concern Magpies fans.
“Yohan Cabaye? He is an exciting player,” said Vasilyev when asked about the France midfielder.
Cabaye is the leader of Newcastle’s French contingent, which now stands at 10. He will take the captain’s armband if Fabricio Coloccini leaves this summer, as he did when the Argentina centre-back was injured in the second half of the season.
In recent years Newcastle have made it their policy to only sell their top players for top prices and, knowing how awash newly-promoted Monaco are with money, they will certainly not let the 27-year-old leave on the cheap.
Roma and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested, while Cabaye indiscreetly expressed his fondness for Manchester United last week.
Cabaye is by no means the only Newcastle player attracting admiring glances from elsewhere, but there are signs that Anzhi Makhachkala have other irons in the fire beyond Papiss Demba Cissé, although the news is a mixed blessing for the Magpies.
The Dagestan club, who Newcastle knocked out of this season’s Europa League, are said to be considering a £25m for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The St Etienne striker was a January target for Newcastle and is a player they were considering again this summer.
But with AC MIlan also showing an interest, they were likely to be priced out even before the threat of Anzhi massively upping the ante. If lodged, their bid is about double Newcastle’s valuation of the 23-year-old.
After an injury-prone season, Inter Milan midfielder Joel Obi is more likely to offer the value for money the Magpies look for in the transfer market.
Newcastle and Sunderland have both been linked with the 22-year-old and although the Nigerian international’s agent was not naming names, he claimed there are Premier League sides interested.
“I can say that Joel is a player liked in the Premier League,” said Renzo Contratto. “The guy had a difficult season but now is fine.
“He will leave for the Inter pre-season and then we’ll see what the club wants to do.
“Obi is an Inter player and has a contract until 2017, but from now to the market’s end, no one can predict what will happen”. Obi has made 48 appearances in three years at the San Siro, but only three of them were last season. He suffered badly from a thigh injury which forced him to miss the African Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, midfielder Haris Vuckic has told Newcastle’s website he will be fit for the start of the season.
The Slovenian ruptured his left knee in October.
“I started training the week before the end of the season,” he revealed. “But usually long-term injuries take two or three weeks of training to get that feeling before you can play.
“So there was no point risking it for the last game. I’m just focusing on next season and pushing on towards that.”