Yohan Cabaye’s match winning performance on Saturday was not what Alan Pardew wanted. The dynamic French midfielder was at the heart of everything Newcastle created during their 3-1 win over West Ham, scoring two goals in the process. Alan Pardew knows that it’s inevitable not probable that his star midfielder will be leaving the club. His match winning show on Saturday only helped to remind potential suitors what they are missing.
With the French media reporting that PSG have agreed a fee with Newcastle rumoured to be £26m, Cabaye may have played his last game for the club. If he does go, Newcastle will need to replace him but where and how do you replace quality like Cabaye. Most important is spending the money wisely on a solid attack minded central midfielder. With Anita and Tiote in place as defensive options, Newcastle need to replace like for like. Rumours of a move for Montpellier youngster Remy Cabella have surfaced which likely means that super scout Graham Carr has been hard at work again. An accomplished central midfielder, Cabella is from a similar mould as Cabaye, able to dictate play and spread the passes around. He would be an interesting choice and would continue Newcastle’s love affair with the French market. Another option is Southampton Adam Lallana who Pardew views as a natural fit for the club. Lallana has proven his worth to Southampton over the years but with the new turmoil behind the scenes, he could be tempted by the opportunity to escape. Not that manager Mauricio Pochettino will let him go without a fight as the England international star had established himself as a crucial part of the Argentine’s team. However at 28 he goes against Mike Ashley “buy them young policy” so asking to pay over 10million for him may be rejected outright.
Regardless of who is brought in to replace Cabaye, the biggest question that is outstanding is how will Newcastle cope without their talisman? This season Newcastle have played well and more importantly as a unit but Cabaye has been at the heart of everything, much like he was on Saturday. Without him, Newcastle has struggled to dictate games and create chances. He offers them so much – vision, drive, opportunity that when he isn’t playing Newcastle look limp. If Pardew can replace him with a replica player then Newcastle stand a chance but the new player, especially if they arrive from abroad, will take time to bed into the team. After a strong start to the season, Newcastle needs to maintain the momentum and continue to improve not falter and fall.
So far Cabaye has played down speculation with a January move away from the club insisting he is happy to remain and his focus is on keeping his form going in preparation for the world cup. Almost guaranteed to be on the plane to Brazil as part of the French squad, Cabaye knows that staying at Newcastle will not harm his chances but a move away and the uncertainty of regular games could result in a change of heart for French coach Didier Deschamps. Whilst a move to PSG will see him play, it’s not a foregone conclusion given the strength in depth of their squad that he will start every game. At Newcastle that is the case (unless he is injured or suspended of course) so it may be Pardew saving grace if the player sticks to his guns and hangs around at the club until the summer. Any Geordie fans that believe Cabaye will be pulling on the black and white striped shirt post World Cup may be delusional. Cabaye is set for greater stages that St James Park and only a title victory would be enough to convince him to extend his stay. Unfortunately for Newcastle that doesn’t look like a likely scenario so their talisman looks set to depart sooner or later.