Paris Saint-Germain have added Mathieu Debuchy to their list of transfer targets.
The oil-rich club are managed by Laurent Blanc, who gave Newcastle United defender Debuchy and best friend Yohan Cabaye their France debuts.
PSG have persistently been linked with a move for Cabaye, and reports in France are now claiming they have turned their attentions to Debuchy.
Christophe Jallet picked up a back injury last month which is expected to rule him out until March, leaving PSG short of competition for first-choice right-back Gregory van der Wiel.
That Debuchy is eligible to play in the Champions League only adds to the attraction.
United manager Alan Pardew met with director of football Joe Kinnear and owner Mike Ashley in London yesterday to discuss transfer targets.
The Magpies are taking a relaxed attitude to recruitment this month, on the lookout for bargains rather than actively seeking out players in particular, and have therefore braced supporters not to expect signings. So the priority will instead be on retaining their better players, of which Debuchy is certainly one.
This is something the club have done well in recent years. Since Andy Carroll’s £35m January 2011 move, the only major players to leave have been Demba Ba – due to a clause in his contract – Jose Enrique for £5m and the out-of-contract Joey Barton.
So it seems likely Debuchy would have to force a move if he wanted to go. Newcastle even saw that off when Cabaye refused to play for the club at the start of the season, claiming he was not in the right frame of mind to do so. Blanc warned supporters last month not to expect many new arrivals in the window, although a bid for Cabaye could be forthcoming.
Although PSG are one of the rising forces of European football, the prospect of having to compete for a place with van der Wiel could put Debuchy off and if, as suggested, PSG opt to go into the loan market, they would certainly not persuade Newcastle to let the player go.
Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker has been mooted as an alternative.
Meanwhile, the daily bulletin from Montpellier about Newcastle transfer target Remy Cabella suggests the £14m-rated playmaker is as relaxed as the Magpies about a deal.
Cabella, who could replace Cabaye or play out wide, is interested in coming to England, and suggested his departure from Ligue 1 is inevitable, but he seems to be leaning towards a summer move, which might also suit the Magpies.
“For the moment, in my head, I’m 100% Montpellier,” the 23-year-old told French radio station RMC.
“If a proposal comes, it is up to the two clubs to discuss and I will think in terms of that.
“I am not aware of what is happening, I am dedicated to playing and that is the most important.
“Newcastle? Well, we realise that at some point we must leave. I think I’m capable of it.
“England interests me, there are good clubs out there. If Montpellier reaches an agreement with an English club that suits me, I’ll be happy.
“I think this is my last season with the club and I do not want to leave Montpellier in Ligue 2. This is my last year and I hope to finish in style. I love England but also Spain, Italy and Germany.”
Newcastle go into Sunday’s Premier League game at home to Manchester City on the back of three consecutive defeats, but Yoan Gouffran says they have nothing to fear from an expensively-assembled squad which has started to find form since a morale-boosting Champions League win at Bayern Munich.
“Manchester City are a great team with some strong players and they will try to come here and win we know that,” said Gouffran. “They are on a great run at the moment but we must go out there and play our own game.
“We’ve shown already we can beat some great teams, Chelsea, Tottenham, Man United and coming here is always difficult so hopefully we can get another good result against City.”