Arsene Wenger is yet to land a major summer signing, with Yaya Sanogo the only addition to the Gunners' squad. But after Saturday's 3-1 loss to Villa, Wenger has moved for Cabaye, who impressed throughout last season in the black and white of Newcastle.
UPDATE: Monday, August 19, at 2:30 p.m. BST
The Guardian claims Wenger will be frustrated by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who is set to reject a figure in the region of £10 million:
The London club made an approach on Monday but the offer will be turned down as Newcastle owner Mike Ashley looks to force the price up.
It is understood that the club want nearer £20m for Cabaye, who has become a key player for Newcastle since joining two years ago and who still has three years remaining on his contract.
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Arsenal’s start to the 2013-14 campaign has been hurt by injuries to key players—not least Mikel Arteta, who is tipped by the Daily Mail to miss the first six weeks of the season with a thigh tear.
Compounding the loss of their key holding midfielder is the growing fear that another midfield option, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, could be sidelined for six months after he suffered what Wenger described as a “bad injury” to his knee in the loss to Villa.
Cabaye would be a fitting addition to an Arsenal midfield that demands technical excellence but currently lacks steel.
The Newcastle man operates in a similar role to Arteta and scored six goals for the Magpies last season. He has also shown he is not afraid to put his foot in when needed, picking up 19 bookings in two years, and has left his mark on several Premier League stars since arriving in England two years ago.
It had been expected that, should Cabaye leave Newcastle during the current transfer window, Paris Saint-Germain would be the most likely destination. However, Arsenal have made the first move.
PSG manager Laurent Blanc recently confirmed his interest in the France international and also highlighted Tottenham as potential suitors in quotes reported by Gary Jones of the Daily Star:
He is a very good player. I have not changed my mind (about him). For now, he is at Newcastle. I have also read he is in Tottenham's plans.
Newcastle, Tottenham or Paris - I hope he will still be at a big club in September.
Arsenal fans will no doubt be delighted to see their side finally making a move in the transfer market, after the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust made it clear to the club that summer signings were of higher priority than a new deal for Wenger.
However, after a defensive horror show against Villa it is likely that a section of those fans would prefer to see money being spent on an authoritative defender, or indeed a prolific striker to help out at the other end of the park, rather than add another body to their already swelled midfield ranks.