News that Yohan Cabaye is likely to be playing for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the weekend is not particularly welcoming news for fans of Newcastle United especially with the impending Tyne and Wear derby against Sunderland looming on Saturday. It had been expected that Cabaye would be the subject of a lucrative move during the summer transfer window following the participation of France in the 2014 World Cup. Instead, Newcastle will be losing one of their most influential performers during the current campaign.
When the Magpies rejected a £10 million bid by Arsenal for Cabaye in August, it was generally assumed that the Frenchman would stay on Tyneside for the rest of the season before moving to pastures new. His midfield displays since early December have earmarked him as a certainty for the France World Cup squad and he has express his willingness to stay on Tyneside for the foreseeable future.
An initial rejected £14 million bid by PSG in recent days was just a precursor to a more substantial bid prior to the completion of the transfer window on 31st January. The day after the closure, Newcastle play Sunderland in a vital derby match and the Cabaye issue is most disconcerting for Magpie supporters.
Having lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland and then suffering another 2-1 loss this season at the Stadium of Light, a third straight defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals would be a difficult pill to swallow for proud Geordie fans who have watched their rivals qualify for a Wembley cup final.
Cabaye will be a difficult act to replace in the Newcastle midfield engine room and as proved in the FA Cup defeat against Cardiff, his absence leaves the Magpies short of any creativity in the opponents half of the field.
It will be the responsibility of Director of Football Joe Kinnear with backing from manager Alan Pardew, Chief Scout Graham Carr and owner Mike Ashley to replace Cabaye before the closure of the window this coming Friday.
Remy Cabella of Montpellier has been suggested as a suitable purchase but it has been mentioned by several sources that any transfer will be deferred until the summer, with the French team currently occupying a lowly position in Ligue 1. Cabella would not be a complete like-for-like replacement for Cabaye but he could be used in a wider role by Newcastle with Moussa Sissoko moved into a more favoured central position.
Should Newcastle not sign a replacement for Cabaye, then unrest among the Tyneside fans will be much in evidence and if an unthinkable defeat by Sunderland occurs on Saturday, it may be case of unguarded mutiny among the Geordie faithful.
Can the Newcastle hierarchy risk such a prospect?