Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has issued another firm hands-off warning to Arsenal and Paris St Germain as he fights to keep France midfielder Yohan Cabaye from their clutches in next month’s transfer window.
In-form Cabaye, who has scored in Newcastle’s last three games, faces Arsenal at St James’ Park on Sunday where sixth-placed Newcastle are aiming to keep up their challenge for the European places, while hampering Arsene Wenger’s title bid.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley rejected Wenger’s £20million bid in the summer for the former Lille midfielder, which led to Cabaye going on strike at the beginning of the season.
Now firmly ensconced in the Newcastle side, and with supporters again chanting his name — with a ditty aimed at Ashley which starts with the line ‘don’t sell Cabaye’ — Pardew is hopeful he can see off interest from the two Champions League sides in the winter window.
Reports this week said Arsenal and PSG had been set a £22million price tag for the 27-year-old but Pardew is insistent even that fee would have entice Ashley to sell.
Although understandably reluctant to issue a categorical not-for-sale message, after the last day transfer deadline sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool three years ago, Pardew is confident Cabaye will still be a Newcastle United player at the end of January.
Pardew said: ‘I see the price quoted in the papers but it isn’t our price. We don’t want to sell him, of course we don’t. He is the main man here and he’s got the platform to be the main man at a big club and you don’t get always get that.
‘He should savour that and take it all the way to France and beyond to the World Cup because if he stays where is now he’s going to be a major influence at the World Cup, I think.
‘It’s not strange they (Arsenal) were interested in Yohan but in the end they went with Ozil. That’s been particularly good business for them, but I think the better piece of business was us keeping Yohan Cabaye. I’m only focused on my players.’
Newcastle travelled to the Emirates a year ago and Pardew’s brittle squad was handed a 7-3 drubbing on a miserable night in the capital.
But they will be at full strength tomorrow, with Ryan Taylor the only absentee and Cheick Tiote back from his one-match ban, and Pardew knows a side which has won seven of its last nine games, is a very different proposition 12 months on.
Pardew said: ‘I’d like to think that we’ll run them close and if we can beat them then we’ll have to seriously look at our aspirations for the year because we’ve obviously beaten some good teams leading up to this, but I think where we are and the expectation will be different about that game.
‘One thing we’re going to need is our crowd on that game because it could be the difference between winning and losing. I’m not just saying that as a throwaway line, it is going to be absolutely vital that this place is rocking.
‘Arsenal have been the best team this season, I don’t think anyone will argue with that. It will certainly tell us a lot about how good we are if we can beat them, especially after the result against Stoke. If you can beat one of the top teams like Arsenal, it’s really going to put us in good shape at the top of the league.
‘It would tick a big box for us, but having said that, if we lose the game, that wouldn’t dampen our aspirations either.’
Written by Steve Milne – Have your say below:)