Walk on Cabaye – Newcastle can move on after PSG move confirmed

By John Howell. Ending months of speculation surrounding his future, midfielder Yohan Cabaye’s transfer from Newcastle United to French champions Paris Saint-Germain this week is the perfect of example of where the North-East club currently sits in the world of elite football.

Joining Newcastle in June 2011 from Ligue 1 contenders Lille, Cabaye cost the Toon £4.3 million pounds, a bargain considering his sale to PSG is rumoured to be around £20 million.

An instant sensation, the French international took the club by storm and formed a formidable midfield partnership with Ivory Coast star Cheick Tiote. Hailed for his vision, influence and creativity, Cabaye became the game changer for United throughout his two and a half year spell with the club.

During his first season on Tyneside, Newcastle against all odds were vying for a spot in the Champions League going into the final day of fixtures. With Cabaye influential in this remarkable season, the club cruelly finished 5th after what had been an excellent campaign. Settling for the far less glamorous Europa League, Cabaye was amongst many in the team who believed they were becoming a force within the Premier League and could possibly achieve Champions League football in 2012/2013.

Instead the team capitulated under the pressure of Thursday night Europa League fixtures alongside a domestic campaign and finished dismally in 16th place after finding themselves embroiled in a relegation battle for much of the season.

This year the team has rightfully taken its place back in the top half of the table, and are currently only one place behind Premier League champions Manchester United.

So why has Cabaye been sold? Simply, Newcastle United is a selling club.

It’s something fans of the team must accept. Magpies boss Alan Pardew summed it up best when commenting on the sale, “It is a catch 22 situation, you need to keep your best players to get in there and likewise they want to play in there”. Clubs such as Newcastle, Everton, and Spurs cannot keep their best players without Champions League football, and cannot get there without them.

Cabaye leaves behind some good memories... (C) Getty Images

Cabaye leaves behind some good memories…
(C) Getty Images

As rated by Forbes in March 2013, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley currently holds a net worth of $3.5 billion. That may sound stunning to hear considering how tight the purse strings are held at St James Park, but in comparison, Qatar Sports Investments who own Paris Saint-Germain are currently valued at $170 billion.

The gap between the rich and the super rich is Grand Canyon-like in its depth. No longer can the mid-table teams in any of the top European leagues compete with those at the top.

So it is up to Chief Scout Graham Carr to seek out and find hidden gems within foreign or lower leagues to keep Newcastle’s ball rolling, a task he has performed astonishingly so far. Signings like Cabaye, Tiote, Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, and Moussa Sissoko combined cost under the £20m that PSG have splashed out on their new midfielder, whilst Dutch and French international strikers Luuk De Jong and Loic Remy are both currently on loan at Tyneside.

Despite what most toon fans think, Newcastle United are not amongst England or Europe’s elite clubs, and it is not a sleeping giant ready to be pulled from its slumber.

It has been 10 years since Sir Bobby Robson guided his side into Champions League places. With the revenue associated with the prestigious competition increasing to nearly £1bn, Newcastle will unfortunately fall further away from the top 4 places of the Premier League, whilst teams such as Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool (widely expected to be the top 4 come the end of the season) tighten their financial stranglehold on those below them.

Ambition, not money, was the motivation for Cabaye leaving.

Without their best players, Newcastle cannot compete for titles, cups, or European qualification places. Without the lure of, or possibility of, Europe’s elite competition, Newcastle cannot keep them.

Catch 22, as Alan Pardew says.

Follow @JHowellWrites

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