Alan Pardew hopes that Newcastle can fend off any interest in Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye until the end of the transfer window.
The Newcastle boss told the Mirror that plans are in place to ensure that should either player depart they will be replaced, but admitted that ideally he wants both to remain in the North East.
For Newcastle the end of the transfer window cannot come quick enough as they will not want a repeat of January 2011 when Andy Carroll last minute move left them with no time to find a replacement.
The midfielders, who both played in the 2-1 victory over Spurs, were crucial to helping the Magpies to a fifth placed finish last season and won themselves a number of admirers.
Chelsea are thought to be interested in Tiote while Manchester United have also been linked with the Ivorian and the French playmaker. Pardew has said that keeping both players signal a successful transfer window for the Toon. High praise, but deservedly so as both will be important if Newcastle are to build on last season’s fifth place.
Victory over Spurs proved that the Magpies are well equipped to challenge the big clubs again this season. However, losing Cabaye and Tiote would be a massive blow to their chances. That is not to suggest that Newcastle are a two man team. There is quality throughout their squad but the influence of the midfield pair cannot be underestimated.
However, whilst they can compete with the top six, Newcastle are a long way from winning the Premier League. That and the lure of Champions League football may be too hard to resist for both players if Chelsea and Man Utd came calling.
But it’s a move that should be approached with caution, particularly for Tiote. There is already a significant amount of competition in the Chelsea midfield. Frank Lampard, Ramires, John Obi Mikel and Oriol Romeu are all fighting for the two midfield spots in the 4-2-3-1 formation.
While the Newcastle enforcer should rightly be confident he can establish himself at Stamford Bridge, a move South could see his playing time drastically reduced.
For the Frenchman the decision would be somewhat easier. Despite the signing of Shinji Kagawa, United are still short of quality in the middle of the park. Cabaye would be an ideal signing for them and would be confident of getting regular football.
Frustratingly for Newcastle, they are more than capable of challenging for a top four spot, providing they retain the likes of Tiote and Cabaye. Yet they will know they are someway short of winning the league, which could affect both players’ decisions.
Pardew his intimated that a big bid could see either player depart. Should it materialise then it is hard to see Tiote or Cabaye turning down Champions League football and the chance to challenge for the Premier League.
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