Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, is adamant Yohan Cabaye will be replaced in the close season.
Pardew looked on in dismay as the midfielder was sold to Paris Saint-Germain in January, with the club unable to strike a deal to plug the gap his departure created.
However, with the planning process for what promises to be a crucial closed-season recruitment drive under way – although detailed talks with the club’s owner, Mike Ashley, are yet to take place – the main focus will be on replacing the man who made Newcastle tick more than most during his two and a half years on Tyneside.
Asked if Cabaye’s exit had forced the club to recalibrate their ambitions for the remainder of the season, Pardew said: “It’s fair to say the transfer made it harder to qualify for Europe – and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that – because we couldn’t replace him. But that doesn’t mean to say we can’t replace him in the summer.
“We know we have got good players here, but we do need that controller of the ball, that manoeuvrer, that clever player, and we will get one in the summer, for sure.”
Newcastle retain an interest in the Montpellier midfielder Rémy Cabella, whom they tried to sign during the final few days of the January transfer window.
Their chief scout Graham Carr is also currently watching a series of other potential targets.
In the meantime Pardew, whose three-match stadium ban will end after tonight’s home game with Everton, will concentrate on the task of easing the club as far up the Premier League table as he can over the course of the remaining eight games of the campaign.
Newcastle sit in eighth place on 46 points after Saturday’s late 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, but the manager will not allow anyone to relax as they approach the run-in, with European qualification now looking beyond their grasp barring a grandstand finish.
Pardew said: “I had a letter from one of our fans this week saying they have been proud of the team since we got 40 points because it’s very difficult.
“You look at the history of the Premier League – teams hit 40 points and switch off. Well, we have not done that.
“We will just keep fighting away and trying to achieve the best possible results we can for our fans. We have got the best fans in the country and we want to do the best for them.”
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