It’s not everyday you hear Crystal Palace sign a player who was playing Champions League football just a season before. But the Premier League side have made an incredibly smart and astute signing by landing Yohan Cabaye from French champions Paris St-Germain. They have done the same for a club-record transfer fee of £10m.
Of course, it is a bit surprising. Why would Cabaye leave one of the most ambitious European side for a mid-table English club? Well, after a dream move to PSG, the Frenchman spent more time on the bench than on the pitch. He made just 13 Ligue 1 starts for the Parisian club last season and only once did he finish the match after starting it. Cabaye, who signed for PSG in the winter of 2014, but he has found chances extremely limited.
As opposed to his stint at Newcastle United, where he was one of the key players in the side and basically indispensable, he was a luxury commodity at PSG and if he wished to play next year’s Euro’s that France are hosting, he needed to play every week and impress Deschamps. Cabaye is aware that there are plenty of young Frenchman who are waiting to gobble up a spot the national squad.
There were some links with Arsenal and Liverpool at one point of time. He also attracted interest from West Ham United, who could offer the player Europa League football this season, and Roma and Atlético Madrid, who would be playing the Champions League. But it was Palace he decided to opt for.
Alan Pardew was the one of the main factors in landing the 29 year-old. Cabaye and Pardew maintained an extremely healthy relationship at Newcastle. Pardew did a fantastic job at Palace after taking over mid-season and helped the club finish in the 10th place, an incredible achievement for a side battling relegation for some time last season. The Eagles look like they’re ready to step up their game and push for a top half finish this season.
Cabaye has apparently also sought reassurances about the club’s ambition and the fact that “he will not be the only major signing this summer”. The Eagles have been linked with QPR’s Charlie Austin and Swansea’s Ashley Williams and will to step up their pursuit of the player.
Cabaye’s arrival will only help the team further. More importantly, it could prove to be detrimental in their case to persuade existing players like Bolasie and Gayle, who have been linked with a move away from the club, to stay at the club.
Cabaye is certainly the next building block for Palace, who look like an ambitious side trying to build on the success of last season and ensure it isn’t a one-off thing. It will be interesting to see who makes way for him- Joe Ledley, James McArthur, Mile Jedinak or Jason Puncheon- and it will be further interesting to see whether he operates in a more attacking role, or plays a deeper role, trying to orchestrate things from the centre of the pitch.
Cabaye has done well playing the deep-lying playmaker role, and it will probably be the way to go for Pardew who could then use the Frenchman as well as Puncheon in the same eleven.
This is definitely just a start, but Palace fans can dream about the side pushing for a European spot next season. However, more signings of the same or close to the same level need to be made for that to happen.
Stoke City have been linked with Xherdan Shaqiri while West Ham United have landed Dimitri Payet. Hence, teams in the same category, more or less, are also strengthening considerably.
Cabaye is an extremely smart investment, nonetheless, and one which can have a big impact on Crystal Palace’s future.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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