In what is becoming a transfer window tradition, French TV station Canal Plus is reporting that Newcastle United have agreed a fee with Paris St-Germain for midfielder Yohan Cabaye. This is now the third successive window that such a deal has been struck, according to the French media (and nobody else).
This time, the money is said to be about €26 million (~£21.4 million, according to Google), which is slightly higher than the £20 million PSG were reportedly willing to pay last time. And, to make the story even more laughable, Canal Plus is suggesting that Newcastle have somehow become a "buy before selling" club. Supposedly the deal is only to be done after Remy Cabella, the 24 year-old Montpelier midfielder whose father says is being pursued by Joe Kinnear and company, is holding up a shirt at the club's Benton-based training ground.
Perhaps I'm tempting fate a bit by laughing in the face of this story, but it's the boy who cried wolf. I imagine that the same impulse that causes Premier League journalists to bemoan the dearth of Englishmen in the Newcastle United squad is the one that drives French reporters to make up or embellish stories about one of their international players coming home again. Cabaye is an easy target because he's said nice things about PSG in the past, and Newcastle are a club where crazy things can and have happened at the drop of a hat, lending believability to even the most far-fetched of stories.
Then again - at this point, reports of Newcastle selling a vital player are exponentially more believable than stories suggesting that they might actually add to the squad. If there's a such thing as being guaranteed a mid-table finish in January, they are in that position right now. As of this moment they are 12 points above 10th place, but they're just a bit too far off the pace to be thinking about a serious run at a Champions League spot. From all that we know about Mike Ashley, that sounds exactly like the place where he'd like this club to live: not in danger of relegation (and lost money), but with no real imperative to invest. This is the part of the equation that gives me pause. If you were Yohan Cabaye, would that sit well with you?