With word out that PSG is prepping a bid in the £20 million range for Yohan Cabaye (via The Guardian), it got me wondering what the team could look like losing a key member of its engine room. I'll assume that the money from the Cabaye sale will free up enough cash to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang across the line...What type of line up should we expect?
In this lineup, Sissoko was playing out of position in order to accommodate Cabaye. As we all saw, this line up and tactic found difficulty going forward. Sissoko would get too deep for his role, HBA is not a good enough defender to play that position, and the miles we've put on Jonas over the years really showed. Papiss Cisse is not a traditional target man, his goals come from creative runs and poaching. There was a mile of disconnect between the skills of the players and the way they were used, sometimes due to injuries other times due to managerial choice.
If the Cabaye deal does go through and NUFC are able to retain the rest of the squad and add PEA, it would open up some options. Sissoko could move back to his preferred position and Pardew would have the option of running out a 4-4-2 or remaining with a 4-5-1. Here's what a 4-4-2 could look like:
In this 4-4-2, HBA would play in a slightly advanced role and Jonas would interchange with Santon depending on what the play dictates. It would give NUFC two excellent striking options up front as well as HBA cutting in from the wing.
Another option would be to run a diamond shaped midfield with HBA playing directly behind the two strikers. A diamond shape could utilize Debuchy and Santon's skill at coming forward to interchange with Sissoko and Jonas. Doing so would have HBA act as the link between our defense and attack, something he has excelled at. This line up could provide some very entertaining football going forward.
In a 4-5-1, you would face the dilemma of who to sit, PEA or Cisse? I'll defer to PEA for this lineup.
Adding Ryan Taylor (assuming he's fully recovered) would add some defensive strength to the MF and his deliveries on FK's and crosses are the best in the club...but he does have other liabilities and his presence would increase the pressure on Debuchy to stay in position and not get caught out as Taylor doesn't possess the pace to recover. HBA would again be in the best position to act as a conduit from defense to attack. Even if PEA doesnt come through, Cisse in that position isnt the worst in the world.
In a perfect world, Cabaye would stay and PEA would come through regardless. HOWEVA, we all know that nothing in the world of NUFC is perfect...so if Cabaye goes and we manage to get PEA through the gates, NUFC should be OK...