The last full season Yohan Cabaye played in Ligue 1, he finished with a championship medal with Lille OSC and caught the attention of Newcastle United. After moving to Paris Saint-Germain last winter, Cabaye is now preparing for his first full season in Paris. At 28 years old, it is imperative for the French midfielder that he has an influential season at the Parc des Princes.
When Cabaye sealed his £25 million move from Newcastle United to PSG, there was no doubt that it was the best thing for both clubs. The French champions had recruited an excellent midfielder—one with Champions League, Ligue 1 and international experience—and despite his influence on the team, Newcastle made a huge profit on the player.
PSG had added a player that could instantly come into the club and help lessen the burden on the current first-team midfielders who had been performing so well during the first half of the season.
The doubts over the move came from the player’s side. Cabaye was moving to a team that had a well-established midfield trio, one that was going to be very hard for Cabaye to break into.
What made the move even more of a risk was the constant reports at the time that PSG had made Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba their main target for the new season, via Jack Wilson of the Daily Star. This meant that no matter how well Cabaye played, he was already set to slide down the pecking order.
Cabaye featured in 15 of the 16 league games that PSG played after he signed but only managed to start nine of those games, with six of his appearances lasting less than 30 minutes.
It wasn’t the grand return to Ligue 1 that the player had hoped for, but it was the sort of impact that regular watchers of PSG had predicted. As fantastic a player as Cabaye is, he was always going to struggle to force his way past Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta.
2000 - Thiago Motta & Marco Verratti are the only players to have completed more than 2000 passes each in Ligue 1 this season. Carousel.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 1, 2014
Cabaye’s competition was going up against Thiago Motta in one of the Italian’s most successful seasons in France. The previous two seasons had seen Motta suffer from injuries, playing only 12 and 14 games respectively. Last season he managed to take part in 32 of the 38 league games, with only one of those appearances as a substitute.
With Motta on the wrong side of 30 years old, PSG won’t be expecting the same level of season from the Brazilian-born Italian midfielder; this should give Cabaye more opportunities on the field.
There is also the chance that Marco Verratti won’t be playing his football in Paris next season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Tom Conn of Inside Spanish Football)
Verratti’s departure would mostly likely fuel a move for a more attacking player, again making space for Cabaye to come into the starting line-up.
The rumours regarding PSG’s move for Paul Pogba continue to appear, via Charles Reynold of The Independent, but the confusion over their Financial Fair Play restrictions seems to be stopping any potential move for the World Cup star.
This will open up a door for Cabaye to get the chance he has been waiting for, but it will be a one-season deal. Failure to produce the performances that PSG would expect from the £25 million signing would send the Parisians looking for their chequebook, and a marquee midfield signing would be planned for next summer.
Cabaye’s performances at the World Cup showed that he has the ability to mix it with the best players, and it will be not only in Ligue 1 but also in the Champions League that Cabaye will be heavily judged.
All of France knows he can perform in Ligue 1. Beside Rio Mavuba and Florent Balmont at Lille, he helped creat one of the best midfield trios in Europe, not bettered in France until this current PSG trio.
It will now be Cabaye’s aim to disrupt the trio from last season and make sure he is part of the successful trident this season.
Fans of Newcastle United and Lille OSC are well aware of just how influential Cabaye can be, for both clubs; their most successful periods in recent years have come with the Tourcoing-born player in the centre of their midfield.
Now it is the time for Cabaye to show PSG fans that he is good enough to inspire the capital club to victory.
If not, he could be looking for another move in 12 months’ time.