It's no secret that Paris Saint-Germain have pursued Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye this January, looking to bolster their midfield. However, with that move yet to materialize, it appears the French club are hedging their bets by also inquiring about Roma's Miralem Pjanic.
From Andy Brassell:
From Blanc a few mins ago, on @PSG_inside: "Pjanic could be of interest in the winter window & could be an alternative to Cabaye."— Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) January 24, 2014
Given Roma really don't want to lose Pjanic, one might suggest PSG are putting the squeeze on NUFC to get on with Cabaye deal or lose out— Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) January 24, 2014
It isn't hard to see why Roma would want to keep a hold on Pjanic. The team is still in the running for a Serie A title and a berth in next season's Champions League. Pjanic has been excellent this season, with three goals, four assists and a 7.53 average match rating, according to WhoScored, in 18 starts and 19 total appearances.
Only Mehdi Benatia (7.67) and Kevin Strootman (7.59) rate out higher at Roma, and Pjanic's mark is good for 10th best in all of Serie A. What's more, he's only 23, so his ceiling is certainly very, very high. In fact, you could make a very strong argument that Pjanic makes more sense than Cabaye in the long term.
Of course, Cabaye has been excellent once again this season, with seven goals, two assists and a 7.46 average match rating at WhoScored in 19 Premier League appearances for Newcastle. PSG would do well to land either player.
However, for the moment, it seems unlikely they'll get either. According to a report from Danny Griffiths of the Metro, Cabaye got cold feet at the prospect of playing for PSG:
The Newcastle midfielder was expected to be the subject of a £21million move to the oil-rich French club this month and was expected to strengthen their Champions League ambitions as the tournament enters the knockout stages.
But multiple reports on the other side of the Channel suggest he is reconsidering the move.
Cabaye fears his long-term prospects will not be suited by a move to Parc des Princes, especially as PSG are lining up a summer move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and already have Thiago Motta, Mohamed Sissoko and Javier Pastore in a hugely talented midfield.
With clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United also potentially in the mix to bring Cabaye aboard, PSG aren't alone in their courtship of the player. Publicly announcing their interest in Pjanic makes sense from a leverage perspective in any negotiations with Newcastle.
That is, unless Roma are adamant that they won't sell. In that case, PSG could find themselves without either of their midfield targets.