Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear is confident that Yohan Cabaye will remain at the club, as speculation regarding the midfielder’s future continues to mount.
The ex-Lille player was linked with a potential transfer to Roma last week, following the confirmation of former Les Dogues boss Rudi Garcia as the side’s new coach.
That was supplemented by reports in France on Friday that the 27-year-old had completed a medical with newly-promoted Monaco – a claim that was strongly denied by Newcastle.
And with Kinnear now understood to have been appointed by the Magpies, the former Wimbledon and Luton Town manager believes Cabaye will remain on Tyneside.
“We’ve got him under contract – and we want to keep all of our top players here,” he told the Evening Chronicle. “We don’t feel we have to sell our top stars.”
However, the former Ireland international, who served as interim manager for Newcastle during the 2008-2009 season, revealed there will be departures, as he begins to evaluate the club’s playing staff.
“The only players we will move on are the ones that are coming up short. You can’t have that at a massive football club like this,” he said. “We will have to move them on. We can’t have mediocre players at Newcastle United. But we won’t be selling our best players.”
Kinnear’s arrival at St James’ Park has already raised a few eyebrows, although he has received the backing of former Magpies striker Mick Harford, who worked with the director of football as both a player and a coach.
“First and foremost Joe is a very close friend of mine,” he told the Journal. “He is excellent – he’s tactically very aware of what is going on and believe me, he has a fantastic relationship with everybody at every football club he goes to.
“He’s a proper football man and he probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s got this fantastic experience and knowledge and while I wouldn’t compare him to someone like Sir Bobby Robson – who was a one-off – he has that sort of knowledge of the game from a long time ago.
“Joe is very popular at the football clubs he works for. He will go in and get to know the chairman, the kit man, the tea lady – he will get to know what makes people tick and he won’t go in there with an agenda. He’s a football man and that’s what he will want to do – make the club better.
“He’s managed in the Premier League, he’s managed in Thailand, he’s managed at the lower levels and he does have connections. I think it is a very, very good appointment for Alan Pardew too. He’s got that breadth of experience.”
A manager famed for his sometimes abrasive approach, Kinnear famously launched into a four-letter tirade at journalists during the early days of his last spell at the club.
Despite eventually being forced to leave St James’ Park on health grounds, Harford confirmed that Kinnear is raring to make his return to football.
“Joe speaks his mind, that’s the way he is,” Harford said. “I spoke to Joe at a charity event two months ago and he said that he wanted to get back into the game. I don’t think he ever lost that belief in himself. It is a brave decision by Mike Ashley, but he’s made some tough ones and got a lot right. I think they should give him an opportunity.”