The rumour mill has gone into overdrive over the past week, with the renewed possibility of a bid from Newcastle United for Montpellier’s Remy Cabella. The 23 year old has been the subject of a raft of rumours over the past year or so, most notably linking him with Newcastle’s French legion and Arsenal.
“For the moment, in my head, I’m 100 per cent Montpellier,” the player told French radio station RMC, but indicated he would be happy for a move to England should the club accept a bid.
“England interests me, there are good clubs out there. If Montpellier reaches an agreement with an English club that suits me, I’ll be happy.” He talked further about his feelings that this would be his final season at the club, but pointed out that he would not be happy leaving them in Ligue 2, and that he has the desire to see his team escape relegation before focusing on his own future. “I am dedicated to playing and that is the most important,” Cabella went on to say.
Montpellier have endured a tough season so far, recording just two wins and a whopping 12 draws (the most in Europe at time of writing). They have fallen from grace dramatically since their championship winning adventure two seasons ago, which can be attributed to the loss of several big players.
Olivier Giroud’s move to Arsenal was a key loss, along with the sales of Henri Bedimo (Lyon), Younes Belhanda (Dynamo Kyiv) and Marco Estrada (Al Wahda). Newcastle have already contributed to this decline – signing club captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa last January.
That move set a precedent which shows Montpellier are willing to accept the right offer for a player, although their current league position (one place above the relegation zone) may make them more cautious this winter.
Cabella himself would prove a strong addition to most Premier League squads, and Newcastle would provide an excellent place to allow him to settle in, for obvious reasons. He has played both wide right and left over the course of the season, but appears to prefer the deep-lying forward role. He is lightening quick with his feet, and equally comfortable with both left and right. He has been compared to Hatem Ben Arfa in his ability on the ball, and few could argue this fact.
However, Cabella also plays well when asked to press high up the field, creating chances by quickly nicking possession from opposing defenders. This is perhaps where he differs from Ben Arfa, and while he could never be considered much of a defensive player, he can be extremely effective when given the freedom to do this – as evidenced by his 78% tackle success rate this term.
Six goals and three assists sees him lead Montpellier’s attacking charts this year, and the addition of M’Baye Niang on loan from AC Milan has greatly improved the clubs options in the last two games. The question now for Montpellier president Louis Nicollin is whether the club can afford to rely on the loanee striker or must he resist bids for his star attraction until safety is guaranteed.
As for Cabella’s thoughts on joining the Magpies? “Newcastle? Well, we realise that at some point we must leave. I think I’m capable of it.”
A little noncommittal perhaps, but a bid anywhere in the region of €7-14 million may begin to test that thinking.
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