Newcastle United will try to get as much as £20m for their key midfielder Yohan Cabaye after rejecting a “derisory” bid of around £12m from Arsenal.
|Up in arms: Arsenal's bid for Yohan Cabaye has been rejected by Newcastle|
Cabaye is keen to leave St James’ Park, a decision he came to towards the end of last season’s unexpected relegation battle, but Newcastle United are aware a bidding war could have begun for the France international.
Paris Saint-Germain have made no secret of their interest in the former Lille playmaker, a very public flirtation that has annoyed Newcastle, and should react to Arsenal’s offer, while Monaco have also been tracking Cabaye.
The 27-year-old was superb in his first season in England, helping inspire the Magpies to a fifth-place finish. His form, though, dipped dramatically last season, as injuries and the team’s collective decline ensured Cabaye suffered a season full of frustration.
It is that loss of form which may make Arsenal reluctant to increase their offer, although the need for new players at the Emirates was exposed in humiliating fashion at the weekend thanks to Aston Villa’s 3-1 win.
Having been urged in the bluntest possible manner to spend by Arsenal’s furious supporters on Saturday, Wenger has turned to Cabaye, although the Gunners probably have more need for a defensive midfielder to help protect a brittle back line than the attacking-minded Cabaye.
Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, has always feared he would lose his playmaker this summer, but he will back Director of Football Joe Kinnear in his effort to ensure they sell on their terms. Cabaye has another three years on his contract which will strengthen owner Mike Ashley's resolve to hold out for a much larger bid.
Cabaye only cost the Magpies £4.8m two years ago, but his success in England, particularly in his first season, and his form for France, mean Newcastle regard him as one of the Premier League’s most effective creative players.
Given Arsenal have now made the first move, Pardew must hope it does not drag on until the end of the window as he would like to sign a replacement and does not want to have to deal with the distraction of a disgruntled Cabaye pushing for a move behind the scenes.
Newcastle play Manchester City this evening and Cabaye is expected to start, despite the doubts about his long term future at the club.