Yohan Cabaye has become a forgotten man at Paris Saint-Germain. Ever since his move from Newcastle United back in January he has faced an uphill struggle to find a place in the team and prove his undoubted ability to his peers. But, as he sits out PSG’s winning run due to injury, this latest setback may just be the final straw. For the sake of his career, the former darling of Newcastle United may need to seek pastures new.
The supporters of the Toon Army are a great bunch. I remember when Cabaye was sealing his (estimated) £19m switch their fans flooded my Twitter account with goodwill messages for YC and emphasising how much they will miss him. They could not laud his ability high enough and I never doubted that for a second. I had seen him become one of the Premier League’s marquee players as well as overseeing his exploits at Lille where he made his name.
Coach Laurent Blanc was always one of the player’s biggest fans having coached him with Les Bleus for two years. The question at the time was did PSG need to buy? Well, upon negotiations I would have said no. But Adrien Rabiot picked up an injury away to Bordeaux which put him out of action for a number of weeks. We were pretty light in central midfield, especially with such a hectic schedule involving the defence of the league title, domestic cup commitments and of course being in the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Reports emanated during the negotiations that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the skipper Thiago Silva aired their reservations to the hierarchy at the club about Cabaye. The pair of them, according to France Football, were not keen on the idea of him being recruited. At the time the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Juan Mata were linked with the club but Cabaye was eligible to play in the Champions League, had a relationship with Monsieur Blanc, home-grown and available for a decent price. It made sense to acquire the latter. Ibra even told beINSport after the player made his debut; “With all due respect to him, I had never seen him play before”. So it was not really the best of starts to be honest.
It is no surpise we play with three central midfielders. Have done for years. So Cabaye has been in and out this trio since he has been at the club. The conundrum for him is the competition for one of those prized three spots. When fully fit, Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuid and Marco Verratti have those positons nailed down. Not to mention Javier Pastore dropping in there if need be. So straight away, YC had his work cut out and it’s proved to be that way.
The 28-year-old is played far too deep when he is on the pitch. The Newcastle fans tell me that to get the best out of their former star, Blanc needs to utilise him further up the pitch. Unfortunately, this just will not happen. Javier Pastore has cemented that sort of role by being the free roaming number 10 who can move from one space to the other. Blanc has not once deployed Cabaye as that type of player and because of this his abilities are hindered. In essence, he is playing nothing more than simple sideway passes which doesn’t even touch the surface in terms of utilising the man’s ability. This is the biggest reason why he needs to consider his options. Playing as just a sitting midfielder as such is not good for him. The team does not benefit from that, neither does YC.
From picking up injuries, to being sent off back in August during that drab 0-0 draw with Evian, the French international has not had the best of times in the French capital. Yes, he has won a Ligue 1 title and Coupe de la Ligue but was it worth it? In the midst of the celebrations and the adulation that the marquee players got/get, Cabaye is left on the outside looking in.
There was one photo in particular that said it all for me. It was purely coincidental but after the 2-0 win over Olympique Marseille, President Nasser Al-Khelaifi gave Lucas Moura a hug. Just in the shot you see Cabaye peering back over his shoulder almost itching for some of that affection. He had that in abundance on Tyneside but not a smidgen of it at the Parc des Princes.
Arsenal are the favourites to take him back to the Premier League when the January transfer window opens next month according to the Express. You can see something developing there, especially with Adrien Rabiot returning the fold. The competition in Les Parisiens’ midfield just got even more intense.
Just one goal in 12 league appearances. Sent-off during his first-start of this season away to Evian. Started seven games but completed none. And on top of that has no specific role in the team; whether that is starting or coming from the bench. The whole situation is a sad one for him. This is a player with immense talent, there is no doubt about that. But, it appears he made the wrong choice in coming to Paris Saint-Germain.
For the sake of his career, a move back to the Premier League seems logical.