Newcastle's 0-0 draw with West Ham United on Saturday was the second time in a row where midfielder Yohan Cabaye's name was nowhere to be found on the team sheet.
The BBC have reported that, at least on this occasion, Cabaye refused to play for Alan Pardew's side. However, given the circumstances, is Cabaye making a huge mistake?
The story began on the eve of Newcastle's game with Manchester City, when owner Mike Ashley rejected a £10 million offer for Cabaye, which was described as "derisory". Cabaye was then omitted from the Newcastle squad for reasons that are, as yet, unclear.
Alan Pardew confirmed in his press conference on Thursday that the club had not received any new bids since then, leading many to believe Cabaye would be back in the squad for Saturday's clash with West Ham. However, Cabaye's absence from that game has fuelled speculation that he refused to play on both occasions.
If that is indeed true, then Cabaye has made a grave error. The two parties thought to be harbouring a serious interest in the Frenchman were Arsenal and Paris St-Germain. However, reports in France suggest that PSG have now pulled out of the race, leaving Arsene Wenger's side the sole interested party.
Despite this, a deal between Newcastle and Arsenal is by no means a formality and, in fact, chances of it happening appear remote. Newcastle will not sell Cabaye unless they receive what they believe to be a 'serious offer'.
While Cabaye's actions may force Newcastle to lower their demands, it is unlikely they will accept any less than £20 million for a player Alan Pardew described as 'one of the best in the world'. That is still double what Arsenal offered.
Arsenal's stance on the issue is worrying for both Arsenal fans and Cabaye. They believe their £10 million bid to be a fair offer for Cabaye, with the logic that Newcastle will be getting double what they paid for him two years ago. Will the frugal Arsene Wenger be prepared to pay double what he deems to be a fair price? It seems unlikely.
That puts Cabaye in a difficult predicament. If another club willing to meet Mike Ashley's valuation doesn't come in, he will be forced to stay at Newcastle. Newcastle fans will not be welcoming him back with open arms. He has acted unprofessionally and disrespectfully as soon as a whiff of a bigger club came wafting through the St James' Park window.
There is even a possibility that Ashley could banish him to the reserves which he cannot afford during a World Cup year. It is something that wouldn't be undeserved but would equally be something that could have been avoided had Cabaye acted with some degree of maturity.
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