Pardew dismisses Cabaye rumours
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has laughed off suggestions that Barcelona could prise Yohan Cabaye from his grasp for as little at £8million.
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The 26-year-old midfielder proved one of the buys of last season after making a £4.8million switch from French double-winners Lille to Tyneside, and further enhanced his reputation on international duty at the Euro 2012 finals.
4. Yohan Cabaye
A report claimed the Catalan giants could be preparing an £8million bid for Cabaye, but with the Magpies ready to fend off all but "silly money" offers for their biggest names, Pardew has warned them not to bother.
He said: "The interest is purely speculative. We have had no contact and certainly no offer, and obviously we wouldn't even consider an offer anywhere near that region."
Cabaye is the latest in a long line of Newcastle players to have been linked with summer moves away from the north-east after excelling in last season's surprise surge to fifth place in the Premier League.
Keeper Tim Krul, midfielder Cheick Tiote and striker Demba Ba, who has a release clause in his contact which means he is particularly vulnerable until the end of this month, have also been touted for possible exits.
However, just as they did when they managed to extract £35million from Liverpool in return for Andy Carroll, the Magpies are adamant that they will not be doing business with anyone unless they received an offer they simply cannot refuse.
Nevertheless, the possibility of losing key men is one with which Pardew has had to come to terms, although he is philosophical.
Pardew said: "I really don't think as the manager you can beat yourself up about it because we are what we are, we can't compete with those really big guns.
"If they come and they want to pay - and it's going to be very, very expensive for someone like him [Cabaye]. Trust me, he will be inflated - then we have to then go to Plan B, which is to get a replacement.
"We like to think we are going to deal with stories like that about all our players. You could say [Papiss] Cisse, Ba, Cheick Tiote, Tim Krul, Cabaye, [Fabricio] Coloccini - we have got some great players here.
"The type of club we are, where we are not in the higher reaches of European football, we haven't got that finance and our players are going to be linked to other clubs.
"It's flattering to us and to Cabaye to be linked with Barcelona."
He added with a smile: "I probably leaked it myself."
Ba, who scored 16 goals last season, 15 of them before heading off on African Nations Cup duty with Senegal at the turn of the year, has indicated he is more than happy to remain on Tyneside but the speculation over his future remains intense.
It is understood efforts to re-negotiate his contract are ongoing but in the meantime Pardew, who distanced himself from talk of Carroll returning to his home-town club on loan from Liverpool, is remaining calm.
He said: "The situation with Demba has been the same since he arrived at the football club: he has a contract to Newcastle United, he is loved here.
"He had a brilliant, especially first half of the season. After the African Nations, it didn't go perhaps as well for Demba as it could have, and that's something we will look at because we want him to be at his very, very best.
"But we are planning for him to have another great season with us."
Pardew's comments came against the backdrop of a report from the Middle East that Jamal Al-Kazemi, chairman of Kuwait's Arabi Club, was close to sealing a deal to buy Newcastle.
Sources on Tyneside swiftly dismissed the claims, which suggested the club could be available for as little as £80million.
Owner Mike Ashley, who bought the Magpies for £134.4million in 2007, is understood to be pressing ahead with a long-term plan after presiding over the club's fightback from a potentially disastrous relegation at the end of the 2008-09 season.