Sky Sports is reporting that Newcastle United and Paris St-Germain have agreed a fee for midfielder Yohan Cabaye following a very long, very public courtship.
Sky sources: Paris St Germain agree deal in principle with Newcastle for Yohan Cabaye #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 27, 2014
Sky sources: Fee for Cabaye significantly higher than initial £14m bid #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 27, 2014
That the fee is apparently going to be fairly substantial is decent news, I suppose, but the test of any sale is whether or not the money is reinvested. Time is running out in the transfer window, and Joe Kinnear has absolutely no track record to speak of in this department, so we'll see if Cabaye can be turned into Remy Cabella or a similarly-minded midfielder.
The "Don't Sell Cabaye" song has been a staple at St James' Park for so long now that any news like this will breed disappointment. Though somewhat prone to brief runs of less-than-stellar form and certainly capable of being the most cantankerous player on the pitch on any given day, Yohan Cabaye was at many times the engine that got Newcastle going when they were otherwise out of ideas offensively. His vision and ability to pick out a pass made some of the speculative runs that Magpie players tend to make look not quite as silly, and his aptitude for taking quality shots from long distance always kept goalkeepers on their toes.
From a business standpoint, Cabaye's two-year stint justifies on some level the "buy low, sell high" model that drives many Newcastle fans (myself included) absolutely nuts from time to time. They stole him from Lille for £4.3 million, activating a release clause that Les Dogues thought they had successfully kept secret, and now it appears that they are flipping him for much more than that, having gotten use out of him in his prime footballing years.
If Newcastle are unable to replace him in the transfer market, Vurnon Anita springs to mind as a possible stopgap. He doesn't play as far up the pitch as Cabaye has under Alan Pardew recently, but his skill set appears to be made from a similar mode. A hard worker who has displayed his own penchant for final third distribution (See Loic Remy's first goal against West Ham, which was assisted by Moussa Sissoko but really set up by a sublime Anita touch), Vurn may well be given the opportunity to shine in the upcoming months. The move could also free Sissoko up to play somewhere that's not the wing - or perhaps Hatem Ben Arfa could see his role increased. Once upon a time Pardew was telling everybody that would listen that HBA was his preferred #10, and while that experiment didn't exactly pan out, there may be a chance for him to reclaim his spot.
At the end of the day, this is a very good player that has (reportedly) moved on to greener pastures, which is frustrating. I've already seen many tweets cursing the club's lack of ambition, and I've long maintained that selling players above market value (keeping in mind that we don't yet know the final price) isn't necessarily a give-up move, as long as that money is reinvested quickly and smartly. The second half of that equation is never a given at Newcastle United, so for now it looks like they are content to sit in their comfortable mid-table spot (with no cup matches left this season) and coast until the summer. If that's the case, then it's time to riot. Luckily, we have a few days left to do something before the window slams shut (DRINK), and I'm content to hold onto that hope, however faint, until that time.
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