Pardew backs Cabaye for World Cup
Published 27/12/2013 | 23:36
Alan Pardew is confident Newcastle's return to Barclays Premier League form can send Yohan Cabaye to the World Cup finals at the top of his game.
The France international will lock horns with Arsenal, one of a series of clubs rumoured to be ready to battle it out for his signature when the transfer window opens next week, on Sunday having returned to his influential best.
Reports suggested the Magpies have slapped a £22million price-tag on their most prized asset, and it would certainly take a bid of that magnitude to persuade them to part with the 27-year-old having rejected an offer of less than half that from the Gunners during the summer.
However, Pardew, who has insisted in recent weeks that he is not unduly worried about the Frenchman's situation as he prepares for another month of frenzied speculation, denied that the Magpies have settled on a valuation to sell him and urged him to continue his preparations for Brazil on Tyneside.
He said: "It's not our price and we don't want to sell him, of course. As I have said, he is the main man here and he has got a platform to be the main man at a big club.
"You don't always get that, and he should savour that and take that all the way to France with him in the World Cup because if he stays where he is now, he is going to be a major influence in that World Cup, I think."
Cabaye, who has already been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool, Paris St Germain and Roma, scored his fifth goal of the season in the 5-1 Boxing Day rout of nine-man Stoke which set up Newcastle perfectly for their showdown with the Gunners at St James' Park.
The two sides met on the same day last year, on that occasion at the Emirates Stadium, and went into the last 20 minutes locked together at 3-3 before a late onslaught by the North Londoners saw them run out 7-3 winners.
Arsene Wenger's men have taken a significant step forward this season and currently lead the Barclays Premier League by a point from Manchester City.
However, the Magpies, who find themselves fighting against relegation last season, are only five points further adrift after winning seven of their last nine league games, and will welcome the Gunners to Tyneside relishing the opportunity to add their scalp to those of recent victims Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
Pardew said: "I'd like to think we are going to run them close and if we can beat them, then we would have to seriously start looking at our aspirations for the year because we have obviously beaten some good teams leading up to this.
"But I think where we are and the expectation and everything else will be different about that game.
"One thing we are going to need is our crowd because it could be the difference between winning and losing - and I am not saying that just as some throw-away line.
"It is going to be absolutely important that this place is rocking if we are going to win."
Newcastle's return of 33 points from their first 18 games is their best since the 2001-02 season, when they led the division before eventually finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League, and they are currently 13 points better off than they were at the same stage 12 months ago.
However, Pardew knows extending that record against Arsenal will take a major effort, and he is well aware of the threat posed by Wenger's talented side this time around.
He said: "They have been the best team, I don't think anyone would argue with that."
Midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote will return from suspension to add steel, leaving his manager with a decision over who to leave out to accommodate him.