Newcastle United will look to lay the groundwork for the signing of Remy Cabella this week as they set out on a two-pronged transfer policy.
While the Magpies pursue young continental targets identified by chief scout Graham Carr, Alan Pardew also hopes to add experienced Premier League players he has worked with in the past.
Fulham’s Steve Sidwell has emerged as the latest target on his wishlist. Whether he manages to sign any of them will give a good indication as to where the balance of power lies in Newcastle’s slim-lined transfer team.
Last summer Pardew was just as keen on bringing in home-grown players with knowledge of the Premier League, but then-director of football Joe Kinnear was unable to land any of his targets, who were headed by striker Darren Bent.
Pardew has made similar requests this summer, with Jonjo Shelvey and Sidwell his main targets.
Like Bent, Pardew worked with Shelvey at Charlton Athletic, while he signed Sidwell for Reading.
The 31-year-old midfielder is out of contract at Fulham, relegated to the Championship at the end of last season.
When he first joined Newcastle, Pardew spoke openly of his admiration for Sidwell, and how he would have loved to have brought him to Tyneside.
West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Stoke are also thought to be interested in Sidwell, who scored seven goals for the Cottagers last season.
Mike Ashley has always been reluctant to sign players with no sell-on value and the last high-profile signing of that nature he made did not end well.
Sol Campbell’s arrival was one of the few concessions made to Chris Hughton in the transfer market, and the failure of the Bosman signing was one of the factors held against Hughton when he lost his job months later.
Cabella is far more in keeping with the profile of player Newcastle have gone into the market for in recent years, but they will have to play a long game to sign him.
The 24-year-old is in France’s provisional World Cup squad and with plenty of options to chose from, he does not plan to make a decision until his international duty is over for the summer.
But according to reports in France Newcastle are hoping to steal a march on the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Arsenal, Marseilles and Southampton, who have all been credited with an interest, by arranging talks with the players father and agent, Hector, this week. Atletico Madrid are thought to have already had discussions.
Newcastle earmarked the playmaker as Yohan Cabaye’s replacement, but with Montpellier facing relegation midway through last season, they were unwilling to do business. Now they will listen to offers, but with so much high-profile interest in the player, hope to get £12m for a player who scored 14 goals and made nine in 39 appearances.
Others will have to make way for Cabella to arrive, and Pardew would like to clear some of the dead wood from his squad, with Lille showing an interest in Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
The Frenchman is an accomplished defender but has struggled physically at times in England, and Pardew harbours doubts about his ability to deal with the aerial demands of playing at centre-back.
Meanwhile, Panathinaikos are reported to have expressed an interest in Mehdi Abeid and Romain Amalfitano, who both spent last season out on loan. Abeid impressed with the Greek club last season, while Amalfitano was with French Ligue 2 side Dijon.
Former Newcastle defender Nikos Dabizas is technical director of Panathinaikos, who have qualified for next season’s Champions League after winning their play-off with PAOK. Doing so has given Dabizas money to invest.
Dabizas will face competition from Dijon for Amalfitano, who are keen to make the winger’s loan permanent.