Newcastle will need to sign a creative midfielder if they do sell Yohan Cabaye as expected. The first player to be linked to the North East club after the news broke that Arsenal made a bid for the Newcastle vice captain is fellow Frenchman Yoann Gourcuff who himself has been a target for Arsene Wenger. The Lyon play-maker is interested in a move away as he seeks a new challenge but he may not see Newcastle as an attractive proposition as they don’t have European football. Lyon may be tempted to sell for around the €15m mark, especially after losing their first leg of the Champions League qualifier against Real Sociedad at home as it looks a tough task for them to make the group stages now.
Last season Gourcuff only played 18 games for Lyon which is less than the 26 that Cabaye played in for Newcastle. Cabaye managed to create 53 chances while Gourcuff only managed to create 18 chances for Lyon. Despite creating less chances, Gourcuff managed to assist the same number of goals as Cabaye with 2. While he only managed to score half as many goals (3) than the Newcastle midfielder (6). The Lyon attacking midfielder was superior when it came to pass completion with 81%. Cabaye’s pass completion last season was 73.05%. Gourcuff was also more accurate shooting with 42% of his shots going on target compared to Cabaye who had a shooting accuracy of 38%.
Lyon have seen a great start from Gourcuff in the opening two games of this season as he has already matched last season’s tally of 2 goals in only 2 games. He has also managed 2 assists while his pass completion rate has dropped to 75.9% but its early in the season. Lyon have used Gourcuff as an attacking left winger in the opening games of the season. If he does join the French revolution on Tyneside, he will be used as a number 10 behind Papiss Cisse as Moussa Sissoko will be moved back to partner Cheick Tiote in central midfield. This will give the Frenchman the stage to create and score goals as he has been doing in France already this season.
A group of Newcastle officials including Joe Kinnear and Alan Pardew were in France yesterday with incomings rather than outgoings believed to be on the agenda. A striker remains top of their hit-list as Bafetimbi Gomis could still make the move across the channel as his future is unresolved. They also want a left winger as Jonas Gutierrez doesn’t offer much attacking threat. The two names heavily linked in that position are Tom Ince and Florian Thauvin who is available for £8m from Lille.
If Cabaye does indeed leave the club as expected, Kinnear will have the funds to complete deals for those two positions plus enough money to get a replacement for the club’s vice captain. As well as Gourcuff, the club have been linked with Wigan’s James McCarthy who would be interested in a move back to the top flight.
One thing remains certain for Newcastle, they need to sort out their squad before the window closes. If Cabaye leaves without any further signings, the Magpies will be in a worse position than they started the window in. Moreover, the Kinnear appointment will be seen as a bigger joke than it already is.