JAY CRAME, editor of The Eagles Beak website, on the significance of Palace’s record transfer signing
Yohan Cabaye’s transfer from Paris Saint Germain is arguably the biggest signing the club has made since Attilio Lombardo joined in 1997. That in itself was a real coup for an unfashionable club and this latest news has a lot of similarities.
The signing of the Frenchman is on par with that of Lombardo particularly as it shows a real sign of intent by the club after finishing 11th and 10th in the last two season in the Premier League.
The French midfielder joins Palace on a four-year deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £10 million, with an additional £3 million in add-ons.
According to someone who enjoyed watching Cabaye’s contributions on the pitch when he was a Newcastle United player – under the management of Alan Pardew – “it could be the best piece of business done this summer”.
The 29-year-old born in Tourcoing began his football career with his local youth team before moving to Lille in 1998. After signing professional terms he made his first-team debut in 1998 and appeared almost 200 times for the club scoring 31 goals.
A move to Newcastle in 2011 brought him to the Premier League where he made 79 appearances scoring 17 goals.
In a piece for The Eagles Beak, Newcastle fan Jake Jackman wrote, “I watched him for two and a half seasons and he is probably the best player Newcastle have had since we were promoted back to the Premier League in 2010.
“The Premier League suited his game to a tee. It was his performances for Newcastle that saw him become a regular in the French side and play in both Euro 2012 and at the 2014 World Cup.
“It did take some time for Pardew to find Cabaye’s best position, but that will not be a problem for Palace as the manager already knows how to get the best out of the Frenchman.
“He began using Cabaye as part of a midfield two alongside Cheick Tiote during the 2011-2012 season and they quickly became one of the most admired pairings in the Premier League. The mixture of the battling, tenacious Tiote with the graceful, meticulous Cabaye gave the side the perfect core.
“That season we finished fifth and that pairing was a big reason.”
Cabaye moved back to France with Paris Saint Germain in 2014, but he did not feature as regularly as he would have liked, only making 38 appearances and scoring one goal.
His international career has worked its way through most of the youth levels for France and being capped for the full international side a total of 38 times to date and scoring three goals.
An overriding memory of Cabaye is witnessing his influential performance in Newcastle’s 3-0 win at Selhurst Park just before Christmas in 2013.
As Jackman said, “The Frenchman is a wonderful free kick-taker and … is a very consistent player who rarely puts in a bad performance, which is why he is such a coup for Palace. He will add creativity and his eye for goal is up there with some of the best midfielders in Premier League history. He threatens from distance as he often finds space around the area to fire shots away.
“It could be the best bit of business done this summer.”
- This is an edited version of an article which first appeared on The Eagles Beak and is reproduced here with permission
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