Yohan Cabaye Leaves With Our Best Wishes
It has been a busy week on Tyneside ahead of perhaps one of the biggest Tyne-Wear derbies in years. The Toon’s ‘best player’ has left plenty with broken hearts – but generally departs with the best wishes of the NUFC faithful. Now, the club must sign Yohan Cabaye’s replacement.
January 30th, 2014
It’s never dull at Newcastle United, and if there was ever a fear that this transfer window would be, you’re best advised to think again. In the last two days we’ve seen enough drama to suggest it may get even better for Toon fans. The anticipation ahead of transfer deadline day is growing, thanks largely to the transfer of Cabaye to PSG – confirmed yesterday when the man known as ‘dreamboat’ told journalists at a packed presser in Paris that he found PSG’s ambitious project attractive. Moments after the official site confirmed Cabaye had departed, we had an arrival. Dutch striker Luuk de Jong isn’t Cabaye’s replacement – but he’ll hopefully bring some much-needed firepower to a Toon frontline now set to be without Loic Remy for three games.
Cabaye’s departure in this window, after his move to Arsenal fell through in the summer, was inevitable. Newcastle fans by and large knew that if an offer in the region of £25 million came in, Cabaye would go. At first it seemed like Newcastle wanted to get rid of their star man to raise some funds, and were putting him in the shop window. However, it has now emerged that Cabaye himself ‘pleaded’ with Toon officials to let him leave for PSG. Newcastle’s statement referred to ‘the lure of Champions League football’ as being a decisive factor. The Frenchman himself confirmed to reporters that he had an agreement with the club which they honoured by letting him go. All this reflects badly on controversial director of football Joe Kinnear, who categorically went on record to say that no-one would leave the club in this window. One wonders if he really knows what is going on in and around the club.
The reaction of Toon fans to Cabaye’s exit has been fairly moderate and accepting. He put in an honest effort for the club during his two-and-a-half years on Tyneside, and the fans acknowledge that. Signed from Lille for £4.3m, Cabaye arrived in the Premier League as an unknown, and leaves with a reputation as one of the best central attacking midfielders in the world. For me, he is the complete midfielder. When he played we looked solid and dangerous. He did the basics well, and provided moments of brilliance along the way. From incisive passing to clinical finishing, and a dead ball ability second to none, Cabaye proved he was head and shoulders above his teammates time and time again. He leaves with my best wishes, and is welcome back to Newcastle any time.
The situation right now is interesting. Newcastle, in the last few windows, have failed to complete their transfer dealings on deadline day. Now they need to deliver. Alan Pardew has come out and said he needs a replacement for Cabaye in this window. He has also assured fans that the money will be spent wisely. Someone, somewhere has a list of targets (mainly French ones) to fill the void left by Cabaye. Replacing such quality is not an easy task, but chief scout Graham Carr has a habit of picking up gems from the French league.
All this excitement – Cabaye going, De Jong coming in and the search for Cabaye’s replacement comes ahead of the weekend’s eagerly-anticipated Tyne-Wear derby at St James’ Park. To put this simply, Pardew cannot afford to lose a third consecutive derby match. If he does, it would awaken the ‘Pardew out’ brigade once again and see them scream louder than ever. In this fixture last season, Paulo Di Canio’s Mackems did a number on the Toon, leaving win a 3-0 victory. This time there are no excuses. No European football, no tiredness, no significant injuries, no lack of confidence. The lads must battle and win on Saturday. That is all that is required. Howay the lads.
Umar Farooq, Editor – NUFCfans.co.uk