Last year, Newcastle pulled off one of the signings of the season by picking up Cheik Tiote from FC Twente for just a couple of million. The Ivorian midfielder has been absolutely superb for the Magpies, with his dogged determination in the middle of the park now a key feature of the Newcastle starting eleven. I thought Newcastle wouldn’t be able to find another player of that sort of calibre for a similar price, but it seems they’ve done just that in the form of French international Yohan Cabaye.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but Cabaye looks like a real top quality player. We’re starting to see already why he has six international caps for France under his belt and he’s sure to get many more if he continues playing for Newcastle like he has so far. He has been getting better and better as he gets used to English football and the Premier League and he has already made sure that he’ll be a permanent fixture in Alan Pardew’s starting eleven.
Against Aston Villa yesterday, Cabaye was immense. He was the epitome of a box-to-box midfielder, and showed how much of a threat he can be in the final third. If it wasn’t for the crossbar, a fantastic save from ex-Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and a lack of composure at the back post, he would have opened his Magpies account yesterday afternoon. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time until he does that, with Blackburn on Saturday the next opportunity and with his shooting ability from the edge of the box, I wouldn’t put it past him.
He has already formed a good partnership with Tiote, too, helping to make the spine of Newcastle’s really strong indeed. Both like to get stuck in and no midfielders will get an easy ride against them. In fact, Cabaye has outshone Tiote, with the Ivorian looking a little bit sluggish. However, with Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor behind them, it will be pretty difficult for sides to go through the middle of the Newcastle team.
I have been very impressed with the speed at which Cabaye has settled into the Premier League, but with his style suited to English football, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Credit must go to the Newcastle hierarchy for managing to get a French international for under £5 million, which is no mean feat. Yohan Cabaye looks like an absolute bargain, another top midfielder has arrived on Tyneside, something Newcastle are making a bit of a habit of, now we just need to unearth a striker of a similar stature.
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