It seems that two of Newcastle’s top two transfer targets this summer will be two of the players we tried to get on Tyneside in January, Lyon play-maker Clement Grenier and Montpellier winger Remy Cabella.
Clement Grenier – Newcastle transfer target in summer
In fact both players in late January said they didn’t want to join Newcastle, but it was more a case of not wanting to join half way through the season, and in Grenier’s case it was because he still hopes to book a place in France’s World Cup squad for Brazil in the summer.
For Remy Cabella it was because he wanted to stay at Montpellier to help them avoid relegation, and at the time they were close to the bottom of the French League.
Currently Montpellier are 15th of the 20 teams, and are 6 points above third bottom Valenciennes, so they are not fully cleat of the danger of relegation, after winning the French League for the first time two years ago.
At the end of January Grenier’s agent Frederic Guerra explained why his player didn’t want to leave Lyon:
“It is not easy to say no to a big club like Newcastle, but alongside Clement, we have agreed that he will remain at Lyon.” “Clement is trying to make his game even richer and he is showing that in his matches. With just six months until the World Cup would a departure from his current club be a good idea? I do not think so at all.”
“The conditions of his departure would not have allowed Clement to flourish.” “He would have arrived at Newcastle, not as Clement Grenier, but as Yohan Cabaye’s replacement.” “I have the utmost respect for the quality of Cabaye, who deserves everything that has happened to him. Is Clement really worth half of Yohan Cabaye?
“All these reasons led us to decline the offer of Newcastle, the conditions of the deal did not seem fair to me vis-à-vis Clement.”
Clement is a top young player and very similar to Yohan Cabaye, and a better player at 23 than Cabaye was, and the Lyon player is an expert at free kicks, has plenty of vision, but there will not be other top clubs after the player, who only turned 23 in January.
Two clubs who were linked with the player last December were Liverpool and Arsenal, and if either of those clubs go after the midfielder this summer, Newcastle could well miss out.
Remy Cabella – another Newcastle target
Newcastle failed to get Cabella in January and one of the reasons was that Montpellier Chairman Louis Nicollin, who doesn’t like Newcastle – and that’s an understatement – said he didn’t want to sell his best player in this financial year – but Cabella will be available in the summer.
Nicollin will advise Remy to sign with a club more ambitious than Newcastle, and he’s already said that in the French press – but he also said the same thing fourteen months ago to Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, but his captain still signed for Newcastle.
Manchester United and Arsenal are two clubs said to be keen to sign Cabella this summer, so if that’s true we could find that competition tough.
And in late January it was even reported we had agreed a deal for the Montpellier winger, but with Joe Kinnear being fired in February, we cannot imagine he was successful in getting a pre-contract deal agreed in January for Cabella.
These two very good players are still Newcastle’s top targets in the summer, but we may find it difficult to get them in, if those other bigger clubs are also interested in the two Frenchmen.