Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies on Cabaye trail, Barton exit likely

Newcastle appear to be closing in on their first signing of the summer with French international Yohan Cabaye very much in their sights. The player’s coach at Lille, Rudi Garcia has confirmed that Cabaye has already agreed a move to Tyneside. Although Newcastle officials have yet to announce any deal it looks as though Alan Pardew has secured one of his many summer targets.

Cabaye is a 25 year old midfielder who has spent the whole of his career with the recently crowned Ligue 1 champions. He is capable of playing a number of different roles in the centre of midfield and has so far achieved two caps for the French national team. The Tourcoing born player has a reputation for providing goals and assists from the middle of the park. According to media reports Newcastle have activated the 5 million euros buy-out clause in Cabaye’s Lille contract.

If the move does go through then it will be a good start to Pardew’s summer recruitment drive. While the centre of midfield is not the number one priority there have been times this season when the Magpies have been short of numbers in that area. As long as Cabaye adapts to the English game then he should provide some much-needed creativity from midfield. It remains to be seen if Newcastle can also attract another Lille player in the form of Gervinho. The Ivory Coast forward has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs and has set a deadline for the end of this week to announce his future. Club scouts have been monitoring the French league on a regular basis for much of the past season.

The potential arrival of Cabaye could place further doubt over the future of Joey Barton. Last week the player’s agent revealed that there was no contract offer on the table following a breakdown in negotiations. But it looks as though Barton is determined to stay on Tyneside until at least the end of his current deal. Using the social networking site Twitter Barton said: “Finished playing golf, 72 not bad. Came in to questions about joining Everton??? I don’t want to leave Newcastle but thanks anyway. I can’t sign a contract if am not offered one? Basically they want a younger, better, cheaper player.”

Barton has continually pledged his allegiance to staying at St James’ Park but the club’s power-brokers do not appear to share the same enthusiasm. Barton has not been shy in criticising Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias in public and that could be a reason for the breakdown between the parties. A number of clubs are thought to be eyeing up the midfielder who could be available on the cheap.

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