As Newcastle brace themselves to lose their midfield maestro Yohan Cabaye to Paris St-Germain, frustrated boss Alan Pardew will do well to cast his eye across the channel once more for his best hopes of securing an immediate replacement.
As January transfer window body blows go, losing Cabaye is a sharp jab to the ribs of Pardew who was trying to build his improving side around the guile of the Frenchman.
A tilt at the Premier League’s European places – where a top-six finish is allotted odds of 12/1 – is now under serious threat in light of Cabaye’s impending departure to PSG, unless he can replace him pronto.
Here are three possible candidates currently plying their trade in France’s Ligue 1, a division Pardew hasn’t been shy in plundering in recent transfer windows.
Clement Grenier (Lyon)
Lyon’s highy-rated 23-year-old attacking midfielder is the latest name to be thrust into the frame to join the Magpies.
French international Grenier has been a real fixture in the Lyon team this season. He can operate behind the striker or on the right, where he’s scored six times for his club this season.
He’s well-known for his dribbling ability and like Cabaye, is a specialist free-kick taker.
Remy Cabella (Montpellier)
Despite his club president at Montpellier telling him he’d be ‘bored s***less’ in the north east of England, Cabella is another well regarded emerging force in French football, who has been heavily linked to the Geordies.
Montpellier’s number 10 has outstanding technical ability and dribbling skills to match, boasting the most pace out of the three prospective players.
Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon)
Reportedly a target for Arsenal as well, Gourcuff also plies his trade at Lyon and is a very accomplished ball-playing midfielder.
In terms of his passing ability (which makes it no surprise to see Arsene Wenger linked with him) he is the most natural replacement of Cabaye’s style of play.
Prising him away with the Gunners circling as well will be a tough ask though.
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