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Habib Beye has insisted he wants to stay at Marseille, despite interest from Newcastle.

 

The 29-year-old, at home at right-back or centre-half, has emerged as one of the most effective defenders in Ligue 1 over recent seasons and Sam Allardyce is known to have been tracking him for a number of months.

 

Beye was one of the first targets highlighted by Allardyce when he took charge and reports in England suggested a deal to take him to Tyneside was close - but now the Senegalese international has stated his ambition to remain at the Stade Velodrome.

 

"I am under contract for one more year with l'OM and I do not want to leave unless I am told to go elsewhere," he revealed.

 

"At the appropriate time I will talk with the leaders, but now is not the time for that topic."

 

Beye is a firm fans' favourite at Marseille, having arrived from Strasbourg in 2003.

 

Beye is also captain and with a UEFA Champions League campaign in the offing, he is looking forward to next season.

 

"The quality of the squad has improved, but that must be cemented on the pitch," he told La Provence.

 

"The new players have shown their qualities at their previous club, and it is now with them to show it here.

 

"On paper with have a beautiful team, but that is only on paper.

 

"[bolo] Zenden is a player of international fame and the signature of [Djibril] Cisse is great news."

 

Beye insists Marseille should now be thinking about challenging the all-conquering Lyon for the French title.

 

"We finished second in the championship and were finalists in the Coupe de France, and logically we want to improve year on year," he said.

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The 1 year remaining on his contract issue is interesting.

 

Apply himself thouroughly and put a few good performances in on the Champions League stage and he stands to make a fortune by going on a bosman next season.

 

But it also makes l'OM more likely to sell, I wonder if he'll take the accepting of a bid as being told?

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