Despite speculation still surrounding the future of star striker Demba Ba, Alan Pardew has quietly gone about adding to his Newcastle United squad, as the Magpies prepare to show the Premier League their impressive form of last season (they finished fifth and will play in the Europa League this season) was not a fluke.
The Magpies' manager has been forced to field queries about a number of star players from last season, including Ba, his compatriot Papiss Cisse and French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, among others. However, while the latter two have been quoted as dismissing any talk (Cisse was linked to Real Madrid and Cabaye to Manchester United) of a move away, Pardew has had a few more headaches where Ba is concerned, with the player himself reportedly unhappy at the Sports Direct Arena. An earlier IBTimes UK report quoted Cabaye as indicating it was critical to the club's fortunes that Ba stay on.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Newcastle are closing in on £7mn Mathieu Debuchy. It appears, Sky Sports adds, Italian club Inter Milan have also displayed interest but Newcastle are hoping to finish the deal within the next few days. The 26 year old Lille right back was at the 2012 European Championships with France and was lauded as one of the side's better performers.
Finally, another of the French contingent at Newcastle, midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, is likely to be counseled by his manager after a particularly controversial 2012 Euro campaign. Goal.com reported the French FA is considering disciplinary action after the player was involved in a dressing room spat following a 0-2 defeat to Sweden.
"He doesn't come back until a lot later in pre-season because he and Yohan Cabaye need some rest. Certainly I will have a conversation with him because I want him to pick up where he left off for us, which was in a good place," Pardew explained.
Barcelona Prodigy Newcastle Bound?
The possible signing of Debuchy could mean right back Davide Santon's days with the club are numbered. In addition, the possibility of Ba leaving means Pardew will need to look for another striker, to support Cisse. The club has already been linked with £16mn Dutch forward Luuk de Jong but a report on Goal.com suggests former Barcelona striker Bojan may also be in the mix. The 21 year old Spaniard has struggled to make an impact with Roma since transferring from the Nou Camp outfit last season and that coupled with the Italian club's hunt for a right back could mean a deal is very possible. However, Bojan, the report adds, is understood to be reluctant to move away from the Stadio Olimpico because he believes he still has much to learn from his present club.
Newcastle Lose Friendly
In other news, a 0-1 defeat will certainly not be the way Pardew wanted this season to start, even if it was just a friendly. The Magpies were beaten after an early goal from German third division outfit Chemnitzer FC's Anton Fink proved a goal too far.