• Club preparing £50m bid for Napoli striker
• 'He is a player I love,' says PSG coach
The Paris Saint Germain manager, Laurent Blanc, has expressed his admiration for the much-coveted Napoli forward Edinson Cavani and Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye as the money-flushed French champions prepare to make waves in the transfer market ahead of the new campaign.
Blanc, who was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti's successor at Parc des Princes last month, held a press conference at the national training centre at Clairefontaine on Wednesday alongside the PSG managing director, Jean-Claude Blanc, who explained his own presence by suggesting the technical director, Leonardo, was absent "negotiating with a big player".
While that was a rather cryptic admission, PSG are expected to launch a club record bid approaching £50m for Cavani as they go head to head with Real Madrid for the Uruguayan while his other suitors, Chelsea principal among them, monitor developments.
Asked about PSG's interest in Cavani, the new manager said: "He's a player I love, as do a lot of other people. I saw him play many times for Napoli and for Uruguay and, if it's possible to add him to the squad, I'd be very happy."
Leonardo met the striker's agent, Pierpaolo Triulzi, in Paris earlier this week to discuss a potential deal and, while no formal bid has yet been lodged with the Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis, it is anticipated in the days ahead.
Blanc expects players in and out of PSG over the next few weeks but has spoken with Brazil's Thiago Silva on the telephone – the defender is now on holiday after the Confederations Cup – in the wake of reported interest from Barcelona, and stressed the £37m signing from Milan remains committed to the French club. There is interest in Lille's highly rated left-back Lucas Digne and the veteran France defender Eric Abidal, out of contract with Barcelona, though Monaco are also pursuing the pair.
Cabaye, who formed a strong bond with Blanc while the latter was France's national coach, has also attracted interest from PSG despite Newcastle's insistence, voiced by the recently appointed director of football Joe Kinnear, that the player would definitely "be staying" on Tyneside. The midfielder, however, was apparently unimpressed by Kinnear mispronouncing his name as "Yohan Kebab" during a recent interview with Talksport. "He offers a lot of options in different positions," said Blanc of Cabaye, who was signed from Lille for around £4m two years ago. "He's an interesting player."
Blanc will take a 27-man squad, devoid of the likes of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic who have been granted more time off after international commitments, to Austria on Thursday for a week-long training camp and is hopeful of welcoming additions upon the team's return to Paris.