Multiple sources are reporting that Lille manager Rudi Garcia has been told by Yohan Cabaye that he will be joining Newcastle. (Sky Sports) Cabaye, 25, is a twice-capped French international and is leaving the Ligue 1 Champions via an escape clause in his contract, which will cost Newcastle about £4.3 million, widely considered to be well below his market value. Garcia announced the pending move to the French press following Lille's final match:
Yohan told us yesterday – first me, then the whole group before the game – that he has chosen to join Newcastle. It is a choice that I respect, although I wish he continued the adventure with us.
Cabaye is a well-respected player in Ligue 1, known for being a force all over the field and his proficiency in set piece delivery. Gibfootballshow did a fantastic job of painting a picture of the player's abilities, and if half of what's written there is true there's no doubt that Alan Pardew has indeed found himself a bargain.
More after the jump, including a highlight video.
Newcastle's midfield was a strong unit this season when everybody was healthy (and not suspended), but with Joey Barton's status up in the air (and to a lesser extent, Kevin Nolan as well), the move is a smart one. Should rumored departures come to fruition, Pardew has already taken a proactive step toward replacing first team talent, and if Barton, Nolan, and even Jonás Gutiérrez end up staying, the gaffer will have one of those good problems on his hands where there are too many good players to select all of them.
Not to get too ahead of ourselves here, but this move (paired with the move for Mehdi Abeid, who is expected to compete for first team minutes as well) could afford Pardew the opportunity to implement the 4-5-1 he's been hinting at, which would in turn take some of the pressure off of the Great Striker Search of 2011.
Of course, any article linking both Newcastle and Lille should pay some attention to the Toon's interest in Gervinho, but Garcia is having none of it:
They are all under contract. The only one who can leave is Yohan Cabaye. All others are under contract and, if desired, will be in the squad next season.
Well, that's another story for another day. For now, Newcastle is starting to develop a unique French flavor. I leave you with this video: