Manchester United look like missing out on the opportunity to sign Yohan Cabaye after reports and indeed Alan Pardew suggested the French international midfielder could be on his way to Paris Saint-Germain before the January transfer window shuts at the end of the week.
PSG reportedly had a £14 million bid turned down by Newcastle a couple of days ago, but the French champions have come in with a bigger offer, which the English Premier League side have found difficult to reject, according to Sky Sports.
Pardew, speaking to reporters ahead of Newcastle's Premier League game at Norwich, admitted he was far from confident his premier midfielder would still be a Magpie come the end of January, with the manager more than aware of how quick things can change during the transfer window having witnessed Andy Carroll leave for £35 million to Liverpool not too long ago.
"You are talking to someone who lost Andy Carroll with eight hours to go, so am I confident? No, I'm not confident and I don't think any team not in a Champions League position or fighting for a Champions League position could be," Pardew said.
"We know we have got a club interested in Cabaye, a very wealthy club and a powerful club, and we are conscious of that. We are doing our best to protect Newcastle.
"I don't want him to go. We have not indicated for one moment here from the owner down to any of my staff that we want him to go, not one iota."
However, with a place in the Champions League looking as difficult as staying warm in Siberia, keeping a player of Cabaye's quality will be next to impossible, especially with the likes of PSG and now Manchester United showing a keen interest.
"Listen, we are a club that unfortunately at the minute, is not in a Champions League position, so therefore players can turn around to us and say they want Champions League, as Luis Suarez did with Liverpool," Pardew added.
"He stayed, Suarez, and they have got themselves in a position for the Champions league, but they wouldn't be there without him.
"It's a Catch 22 situation: you need to keep your best players to get in there and likewise, they want to play in there, so you have got to give them some hope. That's the position we really need to get ourselves into this year, or definitely next year or the year beyond.
"We have got big players, we attract good players, but we are not in a Champions League position or are able to say at the minute, 'We could be Champions League, stay with us and get the football here.'
"We are just a little bit off it. Maybe if we had got a couple more results in January, I could turn around to players and say, 'Well look, stay until the summer and we could be Champions League ourselves.'
"But it's probably difficult to say that with the other teams who have just kept winning, unfortunately. He has been a great player for this football club, and I think he has got better in this role that I have given him this year. He's playing number 10 for us and he's really taken to it.
"It's boosted his confidence and boosted his value as well, I think."
United were thought to be considering making a bid for Cabaye, who was the subject of a failed bid by Arsenal last summer, in the next few days, to follow up their big-money capture of Juan Mata; but with the money that PSG have at their disposal, David Moyes and co. might have to overpay for a player who is already 28, leaving Laurent Blanc's men as the firm favourites.