Newcastle United are reviving their interest in Bafetimbi Gomis after Lyon indicated they would be ready to do a deal again.
Alan Pardew said yesterday that the club need to sign two players, and Joe Kinnear’s relocation to the North East for a week is a sign that even the club’s controversial director of football recognises there is a need to speed up his laborious efforts.
The Journal can reveal that the club’s Ligue 1 target is Gomis, whom they have spent the summer trying to negotiate a deal for. They have been given further encouragement over the last few days, however, with Lyon apparently unwilling to let the player move towards the final year of his contract without a deal worked out.
A fee of around £7million had been agreed before the deal broke down due to a combination of failing to agree personal terms with the player and fees that were due to the star’s agent.
But the impending closure of the transfer window has clarified the thinking of all parties, and Newcastle may yet land the striker that has been their number one target for most of the summer. A deal is not dependent on Yohan Cabaye’s proposed transfer to Arsenal, a move that has thrown Newcastle’s preparations for the season into chaos.
Cabaye was training with the first team again yesterday and in the absence of a second offer from the Gunners, the club have told him to make himself available for the Fulham game on Saturday.
Newcastle’s opening gambit to Arsenal was to double their offer of £10m but they would be prepared to start negotiating at around £18m – a price the North London club are singularly unwilling to pay at the moment.
Pardew rates the chances of Cabaye leaving as “50-50” at the moment but there is still a strong possibility that the France midfielder could be at St James’ Park when the window closes on Monday.
It seems unlikely that a deal will be done before the weekend, and the club are privately making overtures to the player to tell him to play on Saturday.
However, Newcastle believe that Cabaye’s agent is a major part of the problem and may be advising the midfielder not to make himself available for matches.
In the backdrop to all of this, Newcastle have to correct an underwhelming start to the season that has hardly distracted from their recruitment woes. Pardew knows the situation is not ideal.
“There are a few things that can happen,” he said. “If you look at the positive side of things, we need to win on Saturday (against Fulham), we need to progress in the cup competition and we need to bring in two players.
“Now if Cabaye goes, and that’s 50-50 in my opinion. If he goes we need to replace him. That would be very settling for me and our fans. On the other side of the coin, we could go out of the cup, we could lose on Saturday and we could fail to bring any new players in.
“That would be quite unsettled and we’re going to have to work bloody hard.”
Pardew offered a brisk no comment when asked about Kinnear’s laughable assertion in a national newspaper on Monday that the squad was big enough already without any new additions.
Kinnear’s intervention – once again – was poorly timed with Newcastle evidently struggling in front of goal.
United need to make swift progress in the Gomis hunt and they are still looking for a left winger.
Asked about his emotions in the run-up to the transfer deadline, Pardew said: “I’m feeling okay. I think it’s fairly evident even before the Cabaye situation we need to bring at least one or two players in – and that hasn’t changed.”