YOHAN Cabaye has revealed his France team-mate Mathieu Debuchy, the Lille right-back, wants to move to Newcastle United this summer.
The Magpies playmaker has been so enamoured with life on Tyneside that he has talked to Debuchy, who is understood to be on Newcastle’s radar, about coming to England at the end of the season.
Debuchy (pictured below), who is 26 and has been capped three times by France, is a highly-rated defender who can also play in midfield. Interestingly he also shares an agent with Cabaye, who admits he has been “surprised” about how well his new club has done this season.
Danny Simpson’s contract uncertainty means Newcastle are checking out alternatives who can play at right-back and Debuchy is close to Cabaye from their days together in Lille. The 26-year-old revealed back in November that he was missing Cabaye, although he is contracted to the reigning French champions until 2015.
In another move that will please the Newcastle fans, Cabaye has also restated his commitment to United, revealing that their progress towards qualifying for Europe has convinced him of the club’s ambition.
He said: “I have enjoyed playing in the Premier League a lot. I love playing in England, I’m thankful to Newcastle United for giving me the chance to play here. My family feel good here and I would like to stay here for a long time.
“I will try to repay the faith Newcastle United had in me by playing well on the field for them.”
The presence of Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa has increased interest in Newcastle back home in France, where United now have an excellent reputation.
It is a pedigree that has encouraged some of his old team-mates to register an interest in moving to Tyneside.
Cabaye said: “I told my friend (Mathieu) Debuchy he should come here. He said he would love to come to England and Newcastle. He would like to come here.
“Newcastle now has a big reputation in France. When we play, French TV now shows Newcastle games. They try to show every game and support them.” Speaking through a translator, Cabaye revealed that his burning ambition remains to return to Continental competition.
With his performances having caught the eye of a couple of England’s Champions League staples – Manchester United included – he would not be short on offers if he decided to leave somewhere down the line.
As long as Newcastle remain committed to keeping their best players, however, he does not see this as a problem. “My goal is to play in Europe again – either the Europa League or Champions League. Newcastle United is a good way to get that, so I don’t really want to change where I am if I can achieve that here.
“I would like to play in both the Europa League and Champions League – Champions League will be more difficult but there are seven games, you never know. I would just like to play in Europe. My other aim is to play in the Euros with France, which I can do if I’m playing here.
“I managed to play in the Champions League with my home town Lille but it is the same situation here. We need to build a big team – if each year someone else leaves the club it’s going to be difficult. It is really, really important to keep the players to build a big team.”
Cabaye still believes that this season offers the opportunity to finish above their current sixth place.
He said: “If someone had told me at the start of the season that we would have been sixth, however, I would not have believed them.”
Cabaye was in Wales for the first time yesterday, having flown to Cardiff with United before today’s game at Swansea.
“It will be very hard because they play really well at home against the big teams. We are in good shape, we’re feeling good so we believe we can have a positive finish,” he said.