Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Yohan Cabaye Would Be Solid Summer Addition
The Guardian's Louis Taylor reported the Red Devils would be interested in a move for the 27-year-old French midfielder. In addition, Cabaye would welcome the move:
Asked whether a move to Old Trafford appealed, Cabaye, who stressed he was happy in England, replied in the affirmative. "Yes of course, I like this club for a long time," he said. "I like what they do, the boss [Sir Alex Ferguson] has left, but they have appointed a very good successor [David Moyes], and he did some very good things with Everton.
"They are always well placed amongst the big clubs, yes for sure it could be an interesting challenge but like I said for the moment, there is nothing concrete and I am still at Newcastle."
David Moyes needs to address the center of midfield, and Cabaye would be a very sensible player to pursue. He isn't the only player the club is reportedly pursuing, though.
You've got Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara both linked to United, according to the Daily Mail and ESPN.co.uk, respectively. Kevin Strootman has also been linked to the club for a while now, per the Express. Any of those three would be a better fit for the Red Devils, but, despite their massive reputation, even they can't get everything they want in a transfer window.
It makes sense for the club to cast as wide a net as possible. You don't want to hitch your wagons to one or two players, only to lose out on both.
After all, Fabregas will be very hard to acquire, given his history at Arsenal and the turmoil Robin van Persie underwent when he moved to Old Trafford. Strootman will have various suitors across Europe, and Moyes might want a more experienced player for his team. Thiago's release clause will make things easier for somebody like Manchester City to swoop in and poach the young midfielder.
Which midfielder is the most realistic option for Manchester United?
If United strike out on the trio of Fabregas, Strootman and Thiago, Cabaye would be a satisfactory fourth choice. Manchester United need a midfield playmaker, and that's exactly what Cabaye is.
Much like the entire Newcastle squad, Cabaye failed to replicate the form he showed in 2011/12. That was his debut season in the Premier League, and he started off with a bang. The Frenchman finished with eight assists and four goals. His scoring improved this year—six goals—but his assist total dropped to two.
Injuries were a bit of a problem, as he was limited to only 26 appearances. Plus, the entire Newcastle attack suffered when Demba Ba left and Papiss Cisse failed to hit form. That would partly explain Cabaye's drop in assists.
Despite the slight drop in form, Cabaye remains a tremendous distributor in midfield. Hatem Ben Arfa often gets the plaudits for his wonderful darting runs on goal, while Cabaye sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. He's capable of making any pass on the pitch. Not to mention he's a sharpshooter on free kicks, per OptaJoe:
3 - Since joining Newcastle, no-one has scored more goals direct from free-kicks in the Premier League than Yohan Cabaye. Struck.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 8, 2013
Manchester United might be able to get Cabaye for a reasonable price. The Red Devils are one of the richest clubs in the world, but they haven't always spend a ton of money during transfer windows.
If they choose, they can save some money with Cabaye, all the while getting a very good midfielder. There are other positions on the pitch that will likely be addressed this summer as well.
Another positive for Cabaye is that United would have little to no problem fitting him in. Both Strootman and Thiago would be newcomers to England, and Fabregas, despite his EPL experience, would have to shift away from the Arsenal and Barcelona styles of play. Cabaye would have to make a much smaller transition, given he would be going from one Premier League club to another and wouldn't have played in a unique system at Newcastle.
Cabaye isn't the optimal choice, but he would definitely fill a need for Manchester United.
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