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Yohan Cabaye would never have signed for Newcastle United Gerard Houllier has revealed if he hadn’t…

2 years ago

Yohan Cabaye signed for Newcastle United in June 2011.

The Frenchman a bargain £4m due to a clause in his Lille contract, after the midfielder had previously agreed to extend his stay at the Ligue 1 club.

The French international may have left under a cloud due to forcing a move away from Newcastle t PSG in January 2014 as Mike Ashley refused to allow the club to show any ambition.

Yohan Cabaye was definitely one of the best players in the Mike Ashley era and arguably THE best, when at the top of their game, Cabaye and Tiote were a match for any other central midfield partnership in the Premier League. Indeed, Newcastle fans were constantly predicting there would be a ‘riot’ if Ashley sold the NUFC star player.

The signings of Cabaye and Demba Ba in summer 2011 were key to that shock fifth place finish of 2011/12, which should/could have been  a real breakthrough season if Mike Ashley hadn’t refused to show any ambition to allow investment in the squad on the back of it.

As a comparison, in two and a half Premier League seasons with Newcastle, Yohan Cabaye got 17 PL goals and 10 PL assists. Jonjo Shelvey is just coming up to three seasons worth of PL football at Newcastle and  he has four PL goals and seven PL assists.

However, Gerard Houllier has now revealed that Yohan Cabaye would never have signed for Newcastle, without a twist of fate.

Two months before he would eventually sign for Newcastle, Cabaye had instead agreed to join Aston Villa in April 2011.

Gerard Houllier says he showed the midfielder around Villa Park and the player was looking forward to joining his countryman as the new  midfield lynchpin.

However, in a real sliding doors moment, Houllier took ill in early April and his transfer plans were never carried out.

Yohan Cabaye ended up joining Newcastle United instead as Gerard Houllier was forced to end his days in management.

Houllier also had Gervinho lined up and he instead joined Arsenal.

Gary Cahill was another who was set to sign for Villa but he then eventually joined Chelsea, whilst Charlie Adam was another signing that was stopped in its tracks.

The rest as they say is history, Gervinho, Cabaye and Cahill ended that 2011/12 season with clubs who finished third, fifth and sixth respectively, whilst Aston Villa without Houllier and his planned signings finished fifth bottom and only survived by two points.

Gerard Houllier speaking to The Athletic:

“We showed [Cabaye] around Villa Park and he was looking forward to joining,” Houllier says. “He would have improved the team so much.”

Cabaye’s Lille team-mate Gervinho, fresh from firing his club to a surprise Ligue 1 title triumph in 2010-11, had also looked set to move to Villa Park, but instead opted to join Arsenal.

“I knew him from France,” Houllier says of the Ivorian forward. “He had one year left on his deal and he was coming.”

Former Villa defender Gary Cahill — at the time a Bolton player — was also targeted for a return to Villa Park. He stayed put until the following January, when he moved to Chelsea and soon became a European champion.

”Discussions were under way,” Houllier says. “A centre-half was a priority and we felt confident we could get him back. Why Aston Villa let him go in the first place, I’ll never know.”

The final piece of the jigsaw was set to be Blackpool’s Charlie Adam, who had performed superbly in his debut Premier League season.


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