ONSIDE: Newcastle United’s Norwich City line-up will be telling in tiresome Yohan Cabaye saga

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“IT was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Come on then, quiz buffs, who said that?

Sky Sports’ Jim White, perhaps, commenting on various football clubs’ contrasting feelings at the end of the last transfer window?

It was, of course, one Charles Dickens at the start of his A Tale of Two Cities novel.

The title aptly sums up this Saturday’s Tyne/Wear derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland.

The opening line, meanwhile, encapsulates the inevitable shadow boxing surrounding the latest transfer window ending the night before.

Will star midfielder Yohan Cabaye leave Newcastle United for Paris Saint-Germain or anywhere else by Friday?

Or was the “Sky sources” exclusive of a £14m bid merely a desperate attempt to pad out the channel’s output over a weekend with no Premier League action.

Tomorrow night’s trip to Norwich City is likely to be telling.

If Cabaye makes the line-up then you would expect him to stay.

Otherwise why risk damaging an asset who you could be on the verge of making £15m-£20m profit on?

Should he suddenly develop a cold, strain, tweak, call it what you will, then you fear the worst.

Cue the neighbours singing “you sold Cabaye, Yohan Cabaye, we don’t think Ashley understands” along with “we’re going to Wembley, we’re going to Wembley, you’re not, you’re not” on Saturday morning.

There is also another scenrario.

Newcastle, with or without Cabaye, take advantage of Sunderland’s crowded cup schedule and defeat a side who are still, whether Wearside likes to hear it or not, the second worst team in the division.

Cue 49,000 delirious home fans joining in renditions of “we’ll watch you cry on the telly” and “you’re going to the championship, you’re going to the championship, we’re not, we’re not.”

It could be the best of times, it could be the worst of times or even something in between.

When it comes to Newcastle United, things are rarely as black or white as they should be.