Paris Saint-Germain could be the latest to deal Arsenal a transfer blow as they prepare to outbid Arsene Wenger for Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
The Gunners have endured a frustrating summer so far having missed out on a number of transfer targets, while the Premier League opening day defeat to Aston Villa highlighted the squad’s lack of depth as a serious problem.
Arsenal in currently in Istanbul ahead of tonight’s Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbahce – and they must reach the group stages if they are to lure the big names that both fans and Wenger have called for this summer to the Emirates.
The north Londoners lodged a £10m bid on Monday for the French midfielder, but it was immediately rejected by the Magpies, who played Manchester City later that evening in their first match of the new league campaign.
Cabaye was left out of the squad and after the 4-0 drubbing, manager Alan Pardew admitted his anger at the timing of the bid, claiming they had purposely unsettled the 27-year-old with an offer that was significantly below their valuation.
It now appears that long-term fans of Cabaye PSG could be prepared to make a £20m offer to bring him back to his homeland, which would be yet another blow for Wenger who is already under significant pressure to bring new faces into his squad.
Magpies’ owner Mike Ashley has openly admitted that Cabaye is his favourite player in the squad, although he and Pardew are resigned to losing him despite their reluctance to do business with their Premier League foes.
A contingent of Newcastle officials flew out to Paris to meet with Cabaye’s representatives, and they are also prepared to meet with PSG officials to negotiate a move.
However, PSG manager Laurent Blanc has upset Pardew this summer with his rather public pursuit of Cabaye, who joined Newcastle two years ago and has become an integral part of the squad. Having qualified for last season’s Europa League, Newcastle had to fend off interest in five of their players, which included Cabaye, but it appears Pardew will not be able to do the same again this season.
Should Cabaye be sold, both Pardew and director of football Joe Kinnear will be keen to reinvest in the squad having brought in just one player this summer in Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy on a season-long loan, but there is no guarantee that Ashley will be willing to make the funds available.
When questioned about his lack of movement in the transfer window, Wenger fought back at his critics claiming that his previous record when dealing with new signings should give him a certain level of protection.
“In the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers,” said Wenger. “The players who play are top quality players and you should never forget that.
“We are a bit short now but I don’t worry. Less than two weeks until the transfer window closes is a long time and 75 per cent of things happen in the last 10 days.”
He did go on the defensive though when asked to respond to Pardew’s claim that Arsenal’s bid was “disrespectful” to the Tyneside club, saying: “It’s not down to me to explain everything I do.”
The Gunners have already seen a number of transfer targets slip through their grasp, with original number one target Gonzalo Higuain head to Napoli after Arsenal failed to agree a fee with Real Madrid. They then mounted a rather public pursuit of Luis Suarez, although it appears more and more likely that the Uruguayan striker will be staying at Anfield - at least for this summer.
And they were left at a loss when Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo chose to join Wolfsburg instead of head to London, with the Bundesliga club finishing in the bottom half of the German league for the past few seasons and not in a position to offer European football, like Arsenal.
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