They say it is difficult/impossible to compare players from different eras but I ask you the question; In the central role is Cabaye the best Newcastle midfielder to play for Newcastle in the Premiership age?
Against West Ham, Cabaye illustrated all the skill that has made him one of the best midfielders in world football. His range of passing, his composure, his finishing, his ability from dead balls.
Being brought up in the entertainers age, I would struggle to find a more complete midfielder to wear the famous black and white. The two obvious contenders in my opinion would obviously be Rob Lee and the late great Gary Speed.
Lee in his early years was the total box to box midfielder with great energy and an eye for goal. In his later years that quality obviously reduced to a more steady head but he led by example and a great man on and off the field. An instrumental part of what most of us would describe as the best Newcastle team we have ever seen.
Gary Speed ticked all those boxes as well. Obviously not quite the goal threat of Lee but a player with arguably a more complete passing range and possibly the best player in the air we have ever had from midfield.
The greatest quality I believe Cabaye has shown is his ability to re-establish himself as one of the best players in this club’s history. I remember when we first signed Yohan, I’ll admit I had no idea who he was or what he was capable of.
After a bit of research I saw a player who was a french international and had just won the league and cup double with Lille. At £4.3m he is probably up there with our best ever signings as well. I remember Pardew saying that he couldn’t actually believe he signed for us!
That I believe is everything that Cabaye represents. Forget what happened with Arsenal in the summer, Cabaye turned his back on obviously more lucrative offers and Champions League football to prove himself here.
The well documented health problems he suffered last year was very evident in his performances and credit to him for coming back from that to perform how he has.
Personally, I would be very surprised if we see more than another 5 months of Cabaye in the black and white.
Will I be gutted if he leaves? Yes and no!
Yes because he is our best player, a leader and the foundation of our team. No, because I know what he has given us and what we can offer him now. How can you convince a player like that he should stay and battle for mid-table football and a possible quarter-final of a cup somewhere? You can’t and you shouldn’t!
In my opinion Cabaye is the best centre midfielder of the premiership era.
It has been an honour and a privilege to watch, so enjoy him while he lasts!