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Yohan Cabaye’s future at Newcastle in doubt as PSG looms large

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Newcastle fans, don’t despair. Yohan Cabaye’s time at St. James’ Park may soon be up.

On Sunday Newcastle raised the spirits of the Toon Army when they rejected a £14M bid from Paris Saint-Germain but today that hope was cast in doubt when Alan Pardew admitted uncertainty at holding onto Cabaye through the close of the January transfer window.

Asked if he was confident Cabaye would remain a Newcastle player after Friday’s deadline, Pardew said:

“You are talking to someone who lost Andy Carroll with eight hours to go, so am I confident? No, I’m not confident, and I don’t think any team not in a Champions League position or fighting for a Champions League position could be.”

And therein lies one of the big upsides in signing Cabaye: He’s not cup-tied. For any club with dreams of European glory that’s a massive boost. Paris Saint-Germain certainly qualify as one of those clubs.

PSG were handed a favorable draw in the Champions League Round of 16 where they will face off against Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. Les Parisiens have more than enough fire-power to dispose of Leverkusen but if they are to go the distance in the Champions League – while also keeping their domestic title in tact – a proven, veteran talent like Cabaye could be the difference maker.

Of course, Newcastle are desperate to keep their talisman but everyone has their price. And for Mike Ashley’s club, it’s £20M. Anything less than that and Newcastle simply won’t listen. Or so they say.

Cabaye has long been the subject of transfer rumors and tried desperately to manufacture his own move out of the North-East last summer with Arsenal his desired destination. The Gunners had little interest in another center-midfielder regardless of Cabaye’s talent and the fact he’s French. At that time, a bid in the range of £10M was made but never formally rejected.

Credit to Cabaye, the episode didn’t turn his head. He knuckled down right away for Newcastle, piecing together a brilliant first half of the season scoring seven goals and adding two assists. His displays have not gone unnoticed and now it’s PSG who look poised to splash the cash.

“We know we have got a club interested in Cabaye, a very wealthy club and a powerful club, and we are conscious of that,” Pardew said. “We are doing our best to protect Newcastle.”

Unfortunately for the Magpies, “protect[ing] Newcastle” sometimes means making deals you don’t want to make when Mr. Moneybags strolls into town.

Premier League AT HALF: Arsenal fights back, Hull City on top

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (L) and Francis Coquelin of Arsenal (R) celebrate after Theo Walcott of Arsenal (not pictured) scored Arsenals first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on December 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City

Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.

Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth

The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.

But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.

Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a

Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland

Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.

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Koeman: “Nervous” Everton has a problem after another loss

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Ronald Koeman manager of Everton arrives prior to the Premier League match between Watford and Everton at Vicarage Road on December 10, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
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One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.

Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.

The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.

Here’s Koeman:

“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”

A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?

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VIDEO: Hendrick scores incredible volley from distance

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Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.

Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.

[ STREAM: Every PL game online ] 

A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.

Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.

Click play on the video above to watch it.

Messi’s latest goal dares you to count the touches (video)

PAMPLONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Sadar stadium on December 10, 2016 in Pamplona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.

So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.

[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]

On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.

That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.

Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.

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