Desperate Arsenal to return with improved offer for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye
An opening bid for the midfielder of around €12m was rejected yesterday by the club, who described the offer as “derisory”
An angry fan lets his feelings known to Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger during the opening-day defeat to Aston Villa.
Arsenal will return to Newcastle United with an improved offer for the France midfielder Yohan Cabaye as desperation sets in to their attempts to strengthen the squad this summer and with the club fearful they have lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a knee injury until the turn of the year.
An opening bid for Cabaye of around €12m was rejected yesterday by Newcastle, who described the offer as “derisory”, though there is an acceptance that the 27-year-old may well leave St James’ Park before the closure of the transfer window on September 2nd having grown unsettled at the club. He was omitted from the team for last night’s game at Manchester City and the Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, while still a reluctant seller, will seek nearer €23m for a player who joined from Lille two years ago.
The recently appointed Paris St-Germain manager, Laurent Blanc, has gone on record with his admiration for Cabaye, with whom he worked in the national set-up, and the French champions retain an interest in taking him to Parc des Princes. Monaco, too, have monitored his situation since returning to Ligue 1.
That may yet serve to consign Cabaye to the lengthy list of players on whom Wenger has already missed out over a desperately frustrating summer, with anger at the lack of new arrivals and an opening-day defeat by Aston Villa having prompted widespread abuse from the home support.
Interest in Cabaye, a ball-playing midfielder of undoubted class, crystalised as Arsenal were contemplating tomorrow’s awkward Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce in Istanbul and digesting the loss of Oxlade-Chamberlain to long-term injury. The England midfielder underwent scans on his left knee yesterday and while he does not appear to have ruptured his cruciate ligament, he fears the damage sustained will most likely rule him out for the rest of the year.
That has further depleted a squad which had already been trimmed of its high-earning fringe players but has seen only the French forward Yaya Sanogo, signed on a free transfer from Auxerre, added.
With the transfer deadline under two weeks away, Wenger’s attempts to strengthen have now seen inquiries also lodged with the Italian champions Juventus for their former Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba. That seems an ambitious pursuit, with Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kondogbia (20) an alternative even if the Spaniards, too, will resist a sale.
While Arsenal still hold out some hope that their pursuit of Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney is not forlorn, the Swansea City forward Michu has emerged as a potential fall-back option though no bid has been submitted and it remains to be seen whether Wenger would be willing to pay in excess of €23m for a player who moved to the Welsh club from Rayo Vallecano for €2.5m a year ago.
Stoke City are still braced for a bid for their goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic, while Swansea’s Ashley Williams and City’s Micah Richards, who was suffering with a hamstring strain last night, remain as defensive targets.
Arsenal were already without Mikel Arteta (thigh), Nacho Monreal (back) and Thomas Vermaelen (back) for the foreseeable future and will need to check on Bacary Sagna’s availability at training before departing for Turkey, the Frenchman having damaged his neck in an awkward fall on Saturday.
The London club will seek to emerge unscathed from Istanbul and then watch with interest as Fenerbahce’s appeal against a Uefa ban from European competition is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport over two days, starting on Wednesday.
The Turkish club will discover their fate on August 28th, the day after the second leg of their tie, so Arsenal might still progress even if they are defeated.