NEWCASTLE United could face a battle to keep hold of star Hatem Ben Arfa, according to reports in France.
AS Monaco, newly promoted to Ligue 1, are splashing the cash this summer, and it would seem Ben Arfa is on their shopping list.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew won’t want to lose the 26-year-old, who is under contract at the club until 2016, but a big-money offer may prove too good for owner Mike Ashley and chairman Derek Llambias to turn down.
Ben Arfa missed a lot of last season through injury, but his skilful attacking play has made him a firm favourite with fans on Tyneside.
And the United star provides the team with a real attacking threat when fully fit.
Monaco have not been put off by the player’s injury record while on Tyneside.
Ben Arfa made the move to St James’s Park from Marseille three years ago, and has appeared in just 49 top-flight matches and 56 fixtures in all competitions for Pardew’s men.
However, reports in France say Monaco are prepared to launch a £10m bid to get their man.
Should United hold out for more money, then the extra cash will not be problem for a side bankrolled by Russian billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Monaco have already spent big this summer, adding £60m Porto duo James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho to their squad.
The French side are also thought to be favourites to land Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, with a reported fee of £51m already agreed.
Newcastle, meanwhile, look set to take on Championship side Blackpool as part of their pre-season preparations.
With the Premier League campaign only just finished, United have yet to announce their full list of pre-season matches.
However, it would appear that a trip to Bloomfield Road is on the cards after Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston let the cat out of the bag.
The Blackpool pitch is currently undergoing work, and there were fears that this might affect the Seasiders build up to the 2013/14 campaign.
But speaking to his local paper about the pitch work at Bloomfield Road, Oyston revealed that the club were expecting a pre-season visit by Newcastle.
“We will have a friendly against Newcastle which we are working towards but there is no desperate panic – everything is on schedule,” he said.
The Broomfield Road playing surface came under fire last season, with Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones slamming the state of the pitch.
After the 0-0 draw with Blackpool, Jones said: “It’s absolutely crazy – you’re playing against the pitch as well as the team and it’s an absolute disgrace.”
There has been no date confirmed for the clash with Newcastle, but Oyston revealed the target is to have the surface in top-top condition by late July.
United are also hoping to take part in a pre-season tournament out in South Africa, although again details have not been announced. Fellow Premier League side Everton are said to have been lined up for the competition.