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Desperate times for Newcastle with Inter keen on midfield ace

| 31.01.2014

Newcastle’s attempts to replace Yohan Cabaye could be stepped up over the coming hours following the news that Inter Milan are keen on snapping up Hatem Ben Arfa.

The Magpies had identified Clement Grenier as a like-for-like replacement for Cabaye following the latter’s £23m move to PSG but with the Lyon man insisting on staying put it appeared Ben Arfa would gravitate into the number 10 role.

Ben Arfa’s injury record meant Pardew has been keeping an eye on the market already, but with Inter now keen on taking the former Lyon and Marseille man to the San Siro the Magpies boss will be hitting the phones with the utmost urgency.

One name linked with Pardew in recent months is West Ham’s Mark Noble and while a move to the north-east would represent a career step-up for the Irons man it would be a difficult deal to pull off.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has relegation worries at the forefront of his mind and would be reluctant to sell, especially to the club that unceremoniously booted him out after just a short spell in the St James’ Park dugout.

However, as with all transfer deadline day deal, timing is of the essence.

If Pardew could convice owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear to make the Upton Park outfit an offer they couldn’t refuse, Big Sam could be tempted to sell provided there was enough time to use the money elsewhere.

Newcastle are 17/20 to win the Tyne-Wear derby this weekend, with Sunderland available at 10/3, but despite their billings as favourites for the match Pardew’s longer-term ambition of finishing in the top six – a feat priced at 22/1 – hinges on his ability to plug the Cabaye-shaped hole in his midfield.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.