Newcastle have rejected a bid of £14million from Paris Saint-Germain for Yohan Cabaye.
Speculation has been mounting for weeks that PSG would make a move for the France international this month despite manager Laurent Blanc's earlier indication that they would not, and it is understood that a bid has been rebuffed.
However, amid rumours that Manchester United are ready to battle them for the 28-year-old's signature, they have fired the initial shot in a battle which could run until the end of the winter transfer window.
Arsenal tested the water during the summer with a £10million bid which came nowhere near matching Magpies owner Mike Ashley's valuation of arguably the club's most prized asset.
Newcastle's asking price is understood to be well in advance of £20million and whether PSG come back with a further approach which prompts Ashley to think about selling remains to be seen.
The current offer would represent a handsome profit on the £4.3million the Magpies paid Lille for Cabaye in July 2011.
However, having emerged from the furore sparked by Arsenal's interest in August, he has once again become the linchpin of Alan Pardew's team and the Magpies boss is desperate to retain his services.
What are the biggest January transfers yet to happen?
What are the biggest January transfers yet to happen?
1/8 Tom Ince to Monaco, £10m
Monaco are leading the race to sign Blackpool winger Tom Ince according to reports. The England U21 international was reportedly driven by his father, Blackpool boss Paul Ince, to a meeting with representatives of the French club in London. The Blackpool boss cancelled a press conference ahead of his side's match with Barnsley earlier in the month after refusing to answer questions about his son's future. Instead he reportedly went to meet Monaco representatives, who can speak to the player whose contract expires in six months.
2/8 Edinson Cavani to Manchester United, £40m
Should United take the plunge and sell Wayne Rooney (either to Chelsea or otherwise) they'll need a replacement to fill his impervious shoes. The England striker will be out of contract next summer and is believed to want to make a decision on his future once the season has developed. Edinson Cavani is the international strike partner of fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez and is reportedly disillusioned by football in Ligue 1. Reports surfaced this month that Sir Alex Ferguson had rung his former player Laurent Blanc, the current PSG manager, to sound out a possible move.
3/8 Yohan Cabaye to PSG, £21m
Newcastle United are preparing themselves for a considerable offer for Yohan Cabaye from the French giants after it emerged that they are willing to part with £21m for the midfielder. PSG have held a firm interest in the 28-year-old Frenchman for over a year and were expected to rival Arsenal for his signature in the summer. The Gunners' £10m bid was rejected and the Parisian club opted to bide their time despite Cabaye missing three games in an attempt to force a move away from St. James' Park.
4/8 Dimitar Berbatov (back) to Tottenham, £1.5m
His agent has already claimed that the Bulgarian would like to leave Fulham this month despite his contract expiring at the end of the season. With £2m believed to be enough to secure skillful striker, it would be a low cost, low risk option, but questions remain over his work rate and energy levels. Whether Berbatov would quench the thirst of fans who feel another striker is integral to their top four hopes remains uncertain, but he does come with a natural talent that few in the Premier League can match – if only he produced it regularly.
5/8 Miralem Pjanic to Manchester United, £27m
Roma star Miralem Pjanic has left the door open on a possible move to reigning Premier League champions Manchester United after admitting that he is 'flattered' by their interest. The 23-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina international is also attracting attention from French giants Paris Saint Germain. Despite a move seeming unlikely during January, Pjanic appears open to a potential switch. It's a shame he isn't moving to a club in the capital, just because we could bring out our best 'Pjanic on the streets of London' gags.
6/8 Andriy Yarmolenko to Liverpool, £10m
Should they miss out on Salah, Liverpool may switch their attention to Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmolenko. The Reds have held a tentative interest in the 24-year-old after he figured prominently for the Ukraine against England in last year's World Cup qualifiers. Yarmolenko has scored eight league goals in sixteen appearances for Kiev this season, and has fourteen goals for Ukraine. Kop manager Brendan Rodgers is rumoured to prefer Salah, but the Swiss club continue to stall on any potential deal.
7/8 Ravel Morrison to Fulham, £8m
West Ham want a minimum of £10m for their sought-after midfielder Ravel Morrison, according to reports. Sam Allardyce's side have already rejected a £5m bid from Fulham and reported the club to the FA for alleged tapping up of the player. Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen has now reportedly been banned from talking about any transfers as the club try to avoid any more trouble. However West Ham No. 2 Neil McDonald said: “I would imagine everybody has a price. Asked if the Hammers want to keep the England under-21 star, he added: “Why not? He’s a talented player and we need talented players."
8/8 Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester United, £25m
United’s search for midfield reinforcements has led them to Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, although they could face a fight with Real Madrid to sign the Germany international. With Anderson at Fiorentina on loan, it is believed David Moyes has stepped up his interest in 23-year-old Gundogan whose contract expires in 18 months and is valued at £25m. Part of the attraction is that the midfielder is not cup-tied for the Champions League as he has been out for most of the season with a back injury, although German newspaper Bild reports that Real are also admirers. “I will soon make a decision that will be well considered. It’s still really open,” Gundogan said yesterday.
The 52-year-old, who has spent much of the last two transfer windows insisting he does not want to sell any of his leading players, nevertheless knows there is a point at which a decision would have to be made, and that that would not be down to him.
But just as it took a cheque for £35million to persuade Ashley to part with striker Andy Carroll in January 2011, so too will it require a similarly outrageous offer this time around.
Cabaye has recently spoken of his contentment on Tyneside and there seems to be no particular appetite on either side to engineer a move this month.
Pardew has repeatedly warned that he may not enjoy the same lofty status at a bigger club, and with a trip to the World Cup in Brazil to come this summer, the midfield playmaker knows he needs to be playing regularly to secure his place in the national team.
However, the manager now faces a potentially uncomfortable final few days of the window waiting to see if PSG, or indeed anyone else, are prepared to up their bid.
Carroll, of course, left St James' Park on deadline day, leaving Newcastle no time to sign a replacement, and contingency plans have been drawn up to avoid such an eventuality once again.
Montpellier's Remy Cabella, while not a direct replacement, is firmly in their sights, although the French club are insistent that he will not be sold this month.
Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong too remains a target, but Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear are determined only to do business if it makes financial sense.