By Russell Edge

9th Jan, 2018 | 1:04pm

Newcastle must replace pass master with former fans' favourite available for a bargain

If midfield maestro Jonjo Shelvey is to leave Newcastle United in January then the club must look to replace him with former fans’ favourite Yohan Cabaye.
The Magpies have been linked with selling their central pass master to Premier League rivals West Ham, who are reported by the Express to have held positive talks over securing a £12million deal for the 25-year-old.
While offloading one of their star players and strengthening a fellow side in the battle for survival seems an unlikely move for the Magpies, it would not be the first transfer shock on Tyneside, and it would not be the last.
So if the six-cap England international were to leave St James’ Park, then the club should be looking for former favourite Cabaye to take his place.
Adored by the Toon Army during his time with the Magpies, the 48-cap French star made 93 appearances for the club, scoring 18 goals and chipping in with 14 assists.
In stark contrast, despite having made made 22 appearances for the London club this season, he has just one assist to his name, showing how they have failed to get the best out of his talents.
With his passing range and vision, the 31-year-old is the ideal replacement for Shelvey, and he would likely be available for a bargain deal in January, with his contract set to expire in the summer.
While current club Crystal Palace will undoubtedly put up a fight for his services, a return to Newcastle would be perfect for both the player and the Magpies, who would be quick to forget the acrimonious circumstances under which he left.
Plus, just as Shelvey’s departure would weaken Newcastle while strengthening West Ham, Cabaye’s second coming at St James’ Park would dent the Eagles’ hopes of remaining in the top flight, making him the perfect capture.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, two European champions are lining up a swoop for one of the Magpies’ international stars.
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