Newcastle United’s Main Man
View from the Isle – What Euro 2012 brought to light for NUFC
While I always knew Yohan was a great signing for £4m and one our key men at Newcastle United, Euro 2012 brought to light what a truly world-class midfielder we have on our books.
Against England in France’s first game, Cabaye – partnering Diarra in CM – absolutely controlled midfield. Apart from a fantastic free-kick from Gerrard which led to Lescott’s opening goal – the Liverpool man remained worryingly stagnant throughout the game and frankly; England were extremely lucky to claim a point against Laurent Blanc’s men.
Watching the game live on RTE2 (Ireland’s equivalent to BBC) the commentator must have mentioned Yohan Cabaye and the special season he had with Newcastle United at least half a dozen times. When he wasn’t busy praising the Frenchman – his co-commentator referred to Yohan on countless occasions as: ‘a lad who can play ball’.
That was only the start mind you. Yohan’s goal against Ukraine highlighted even further his importance to the French team. Collecting the ball in midfield and spraying it out wide, Cabaye found himself with the ball at his feet inside the box and swivelling brilliantly – slotted it home into the bottom corner. Only the post denied him a classy double minutes later.
His final performance in the tournament happened to be against the reigning champions, Spain, in Donetsk. In the days leading up to the game, France manager Laurent Blanc labelled Cabaye as ‘indispensible’ to the current set-up and pulled out all the stops to ensure the #4 made the starting line-up, this time alongside Yann M’Vila.
While Spain may have held an iron tight grip on the game from start to finish; Yohan shone as Les Bleus’ star performer once again. In a thankless effort trying to contain and prevent a midfield of Iniesta and Xavi – Cabaye put in a solid 90 minutes and unlike some other members of the team, couldn’t have done any better than he did.
Only the best keeper in the world denied Dreamboat a spectacular free-kick, a free kick that bore a canny resemblence to his efforts against Blackburn Rovers & Manchester United last season – both of which as I’m sure you know, found the net.
However, less of the match report and more to the point of this article.
Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Fabricio Coloccin, and Tim Krul closely rivaled Yohan for some people’s player of the season in this year’s Premier League campaign. However, after watching the Frenchman in Ukraine – I really cannot get my mind around how good a player he really is.
Not that it needs discussing or anything but if you were to sell Cabaye tomorrow – he would fetch a fee close to £25m. Yohan is certainly up there with the top CMs in the Premier League, even with my Black and White goggles left to one side – it is extremely hard to keep him out of the Top 5 list.
In one way I’m glad France are out of the Euros (And not because of the whole Thierry Henry hand-ball incident either!). The next time we’ll see Cabaye or Ben Arfa in action is in pre-season, in a Newcastle United jersey, and just as well.
Successive classy performances at the Euros from either would only have turned supposed interest from other big clubs into formal bids – and we don’t want any of that as we prepare for another Premier League season.
For the first time in a long time at a European Championships one of our own made me sit-up and take notice. It seems it took one of the biggest footballing stages in the world to prove once and for all what a quality player Graham Carr and his team have managed to bring to St.James’ Park – for peanuts.
If we can build a team around Cabaye, we are in for very exciting times at Newcastle United indeed. Mathieu Debuchy is potentially another find from our scouting team, that’s worth its weight in gold. Encouragingly, Mike Ashley is at a stage where he very much trusts the men around him and more importantly: trusts them with money.
£8.5m bids for Luuk de Jong – a player Mike Ashley probably hadn’t heard of – show that the purse strings are loosening all the time.
Regardless of what happens in the coming transfer window, I’m sure Yohan will be a Newcastle United player at the end of it all and hopefully we’ll have added a few ambitious players to our squad.
As the Counting Crows once sang “you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone”, well thankfully this isn’t the case, for me at least.
Euro 2012 reinforced (for me in particular) what a great player we have in Yohan Cabaye and fingers crossed, this Magpie won’t fly the nest any time soon.
Written by Kevin Doocey, the man behind TyneTime.com and freelance football writer.
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