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Jan 28 / Jamie Hardesty

I Just Don’t Think You Understand

It is a universally acknowledged truth that Newcastle United Football Club have no ambition. The decision to sell Yohan Cabaye to PSG, 3 days before the transfer window ends, will come as no surprise to Newcastle fans who are more than familiar with Mike Ashley’s approach to running the club.

Prepare for the doom and gloom toon fans

Cabaye is currently with the Newcastle squad in Norwich although he will say his goodbyes to fellow team mates in the morning before jetting off straight to Paris to finalise personal terms. The departing dreamboats exit seems 6 months overdue, with Arsenal coming close to brokering a deal back in the summer. However, despite the transfer failing to materialise, Cabaye’s days on Tyneside have since been numbered.

Cabaye has been exceptional for Newcastle on the pitch this season. Looking past the raw statistics of 7 goals and 2 assists in 19 appearances, the greatest benefits brought about by Cabaye on the pitch is his ability to raise the performance level of the Newcastle United team as a whole. Simply put, when Yohan is playing well, Newcastle are generally playing well.

I could wax lyrical about Cabaye for thousands upon thousands of words. We all know how good he is, I can’t begrudge him a move. I mean, what would you rather do: battle for 8th in the Premier League or compete in the Champions League, a league title and domestic cups for years to come?

Let’s look at how Cabaye’s imminent move affects all those involved with the club.

The fans

We have a culture here at Newcastle United whereby we champion attacking players. You could argue this was expedited by Keegan’s entertainers, with the likes of Ginola dazzling the terraces. Since Bobby’s time at the club ended,  one of the biggest things we’ve enjoyed have been the talents of individual players. Cabaye has fitted in to that category because he’s a gifted player and a special talent. He can pass, he can shoot and he can be a horrible little so and so from time to time which you can’t help but love seeing when a player like that is in your side. He could have become a cult hero rather than just a favourite player.

Fans will be saddened by his exit for two reasons. One, as I’ve mentioned he is one of our better players and two, the reality is that its unlikely that Newcastle will bring in a replacement before the window slams shut!

Personally I’m not angry with Yohan going. Not with him anyway. I, like many, have a soft spot for him. I think anger is best diverted elsewhere.

Pardew

Should we blame Pardew for Cabaye’s departure? I think not. Once again Pardew will be left to pick up the pieces. The manager will have to face the media, face the playing squad and face the fans, desperately trying to explain and appease all those who will be disheartened by Yohan leaving. Decisions like this are not made by Pards, he can only spectate like the rest of us.

Kinnear & Ashley

When Joe Kinnear recently revealed that no big player would be leaving, this sent alarm bells ringing with many of us. True to the nature of the Ashley transfer policy, Cabaye’s story fits in perfectly with the club narrative; spend low, sell big. However, will the profits be adequately reinvested in to the playing squad? There’s more chance of Joe Kinnear becoming an Ambassador for Peace in the Middle East(or has he done that already, I forget…).

Ashley doesn't care as long as profits are there

The Club

Newcastle will go on. No one man is bigger than the club. What now needs to happen is some activity in the transfer market. However, I believe Vernon Anita is Yohan Cabaye’s replacement. That is why Vern was signed.

Food for thought

Players have left Newcastle in the past in search of pastures anew and dreams of furthering their careers, only to find themselves in a worse position than when they were at Newcastle. Cabaye will most probably be a hit at PSG, he’s a great player and Blanc has a good relationship with him. However, Cabaye’s rich vein of form has coincided with Anita’s inclusion in the central midfield three, allowing Cabaye the freedom to roam further forward as he did in his Lille days (and in the second half of Newcastle’s 5th place finish season).

If Blanc is to play Cabaye in a deep lying playmaker role in the PSG side, surrounded by an array of big name players, he could very well ‘go missing’ in the side. Jonas Gutierrez made Jose Enrique look far better than he was when they played together at Newcastle. Perhaps Cabaye will not be given the license and freedom to dictate his own game so much when he enters a PSG side full of stars and egos. Of course I wish Cabaye the best as he is a player I’ve loved watching in the black and white but it is far from guaranteed that he will be a hit at PSG. I can’t help but think he could have had another few months at Newcastle until the summer; he certainly would have shone more in this side.

Similarly, Loic Remy seems to want away from Newcastle, but ask yourself this: Would Remy have enjoyed as good a season playing for a better club than Newcastle? Certainly he wouldn’t have had the time or patience he’s received on Tyneside in a more pressured environment.

Au revoir

Will Cabaye be a success at PSG? Will NUFC get a replacement? Will Joe Kinnear get a new kebab?

Who knows? Nobody ever knows anything when it comes to Newcastle United, just ask Alan Pardew!

We all expected Yohan to leave and we knew this day would come. Its hard. I don’t want to dress it up or lean on clichés that we will rise again and move forward – I don’t think we will. What’s happened here is we have been given another punch to the guts and reminded where we are under the Ashley regime – floating in the abyss.

No cups. No investment. No Champions League chance. No ambition and now no Cabaye. I’d say it couldn’t get any worse but then the mackems could beat us on Saturday and lift a trophy in March…

Although perhaps we’ll paper over the cracks with a derby win and a deadline day signing but think about it, in the grand scheme of it all, is there really any difference?

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