Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is bracing himself for Yohan Cabaye's exit after admitting he is not confident of keeping his star man.
The Magpies rejected a £14million bid for the 28-year-old France international from Paris St Germain on Sunday, but are awaiting a second approach closer to their valuation, which is in excess of £20million.
Pardew is hoping against hope that the big-spending Ligue 1 outfit cannot tempt owner Mike Ashley into selling Cabaye with the kind of offer which prompted Andy Carroll's £35million departure for Liverpool three years ago this month.
However, he is equally aware that he will have no part in that decision and with contingency plans having been drawn up for just such a scenario, he remains relaxed about the situation.
Asked if he was confident of keeping the player, 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."
Newcastle currently lie in eighth place in the Barclays Premier League table ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Norwich and, barring an unlikely charge into the top four over the next four months, are unlikely to be able to offer Cabaye, or indeed any other player, Champions League football next season.
However, Pardew insists that is eminently preferable than the position in which he found himself back in January 2011 when leading scorer Carroll was sold without a replacement being brought in and with top-flight survival far from assured.
He said: "Well, you are talking to a manager who actually when he lost Andy Carroll, lost a massive part of a team that wasn't safe. We didn't have 36 points when we lost Andy Carroll, so it was a hell of a blow.
"I still maintain that was one of my best periods as a manager at this football club, getting us safe that year, so in terms of my mentality, I'm just strong about it.
"I am strong whatever happens. I am the manager and I have got to deal with it.
"I don't want him (Cabaye) to go. We have not indicated for one moment here from the owner down to any of my staff that we want him to go, not one iota."
The reality is that, given Newcastle's well-publicised model, should PSG match Ashley's valuation, they are likely to get their man, a move which would be far from popular on Tyneside.
However, that will only happen at the right price, and with the gap being plugged immediately.
Pardew said: "We would need to bring somebody in, for sure. You can't lose a player of that quality and not replace him.
"But we are going to need some time to do that. We have informed the club that's interested and the agents of the player that we are very conscious of that."
In the meantime, Pardew fully expects Cabaye to line up alongside his team-mates at Carrow Road, something he did not do at Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season after reportedly going on strike when Arsenal's £10million offer for him was rebuffed.
Pardew, whose team also has Saturday's derby clash with Sunderland to which to look forward, said: "I'd like to think he has learned from that experience because I think he could have dealt with it better.
"I don't see a problem at Norwich, and obviously Sunderland doesn't matter because it is outside of the window. He will either be here or he won't."
In an ideal world for Pardew, the Magpies would win at Norwich, fend off the interest in Cabaye and land their own main January target, Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong, ahead of the Black Cats' visit to St James' Park, although the reverse would make for a very difficult week.
Pardew said with a smile: "Yes, of course, and that's Newcastle for you. I could say that every week I have been here, and I am sure it won't change."
Newcastle will head for Norfolk without striker Papiss Cisse, who has a back injury.
However, Pardew does not expect the Senegal international, who has been linked with moves to Germany, Turkey and the Middle East amongst other options, to leave Tyneside this month and is hopeful of adding to the squad.
He said: "We are hoping to sign a player outside the Cabaye situation for the second half of the season, and we are getting a little bit closer to that, on a positive side."