Newcastle United are set for another drawn-out transfer saga, this time over right-back Mathieu Debuchy – with no resolution likely until after the World Cup.
With interest from the likes of Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, Debuchy has refused to commit his future to the Magpies or to give any thought to a move.
The 28-year-old is preparing for the World Cup, where he faces competition for his place in France’s starting 11 from Bacary Sagna, the man Arsenal are looking to replace.
Debuchy’s close friend Yohan Cabaye left in January and the suspicion is his departure, and Newcastle’s lack of ambition, will make it hard for the Magpies to resist a big offer for the defender.
However, when asked about his future, Debuchy pleaded ignorance. He said: “Honestly, I did not hear about any talks over a possible transfer. For my part, I do not feel affected by it. I leave it to my agents to manage that and I remain focused on the World Cup.”
Since joining up with Les Bleus, Debuchy has voiced his frustration with manager Alan Pardew, suggesting the Londoner’s reluctance to allow him to play his natural attacking game could see him lose out to Sagna when Didier Deschmaps names his team for the opening game, against Honduras on June 15.
Sagna is expected to join Manchester City after confirming he will not renew his Arsenal contract.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc is a confirmed fan of Debuchy, having handed him his international debut and made him his first-choice right-back during his time as national manager.
France’s last group game is not until June 25.
They will be expected to qualify from a group which also features Switzerland and Ecuador, although their recent tournament history suggests it is not a foregone conclusion.
The World Cup final is on July 13.
Although Newcastle are open to the idea of a clear-out of players, and thinning out their French contingent along the way, Debuchy is one of those they will be desperate to keep.
The former Lille defender was one of the best full-backs in last season’s Premier League.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, on the other hand, could be available, with Bordeaux keen to take advantage of Pardew’s reservations about the central defender’s ability to compete physically and aerially in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed Newcastle will not face West Ham United in this year’s Schalke Cup after they were drawn with Malaga and the hosts in the pre-season tournament.
The Magpies will face Malaga at 3.30 on August 2, then face the Royal Blues at 5.30 the following day.
The tournament will form a vital part of Newcastle’s preparations for next season.