Newcastle United are facing transfer window frustration after being told to up their offer for Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier to £11million to have any hope of landing their top target to replace Yohan Cabaye.
On a day of comings and goings at St James’ Park, the club confirmed Yohan Cabaye’s £20million departure AND announced that Luuk de Jong had been signed on loan until the end of the season – with a view to an €8m permanent deal in the summer.
But it is the deal for Grenier – the only player they are tracking ahead of tomorrow’s 11pm deadline – which is the main order of business for the club’s transfer team.
They tabled an €10m offer early on Wednesday but that was knocked back, and the Magpies were pondering whether to up their bid last night.
There were less-than-positive dispatches from the player himself yesterday evening as he appeared to pour cold water on Newcastle’s hopes of landing him this window.
The Journal understands that Lyon had originally indicated that they were keen to sell with Champions League football apparently a pipe dream this season, and that the midfielder himself was keen to come to England.
But United appear to have paid a price for leaving their approach until the end of the window, with the player suggesting the deal was almost dead.
“I haven’t got a lot to say on that subject. I’m not aware of Newcastle negotiations,” he said.
“I have lots of objectives and I need to achieve them with Lyon this year. I can nearly say I’m not going to Newcastle.”
Newcastle will hold hopes of reviving the deal, which The Journal understands is the only transfer being worked on in January. The club believe they should only sign players who will provide long-term benefits, and Grenier is the only January target who qualifies.
Interest in Remy Cabella has been parked and may be revived in the summer.
One deal United did manage to pull off was for target man De Jong, who said he was “delighted” to sign for Newcastle.
“Newcastle is a great club and I have a good feeling about it,” he said.
“I am very impressed with the stadium and training ground and have been made to feel very welcome by everyone I have met.
“It has been a tough season for me so far but I am here to play games and want to be important for the team, and successful with goals and assists.”
Meanwhile, Cabaye claimed that he had an “agreement” with Newcastle to leave in January as he was unveiled in Paris as the latest big money signing for the Ligue 1 giants. That is in contradiction to Joe Kinnear’s stated claim that Newcastle would not be selling players in this window but it also requires a bit of context: United had told him he could leave if a club approached Newcastle with an acceptable offer.
Ambition played a part too. Asked why he was attracted to France’s coming force he said: “I moved because I want to win titles. It is already great to play football, but everyone wants to win something.”
The club sought to position themselves as slightly unwilling sellers, although the economic arguments of banking £20m for a 28-year-old were clear.
United said in a statement: “Newcastle United have benefitted significantly from Yohan’s talents since his arrival from Lille in the summer of 2011, and the player has likewise benefited, developing hugely during his time on Tyneside.
“The club wanted to keep him but the lure of Champions League football and the prospect of being involved in the sporting project at PSG was an opportunity that Yohan made very clear to us he wanted to take.”