Mike Ashley appears to be about to break the bank at last to deliver a little relief to the worrying Geordie faithful. Long term target Remy Cabella is expected to join the club this week in a deal worth around £12 million, a club record for a midfield player.
French international Cabella was first linked with the club during last summer’s transfer window, but stubborn Montpellier CEO Laurent Nicollin was adamant their hot prospect was going nowhere. The rumour resurfaced n January, this time with reports of a bid which was initially turned down. There was a feeling that a deal could be done, however the window passed without a move in place.
Several clubs had been linked at the same time, and Cabella appeared to be keeping his options open, saying in January “For the moment, in my head, I’m 100 per cent Montpellier”. He went on to describe his desire to see out a final season at the club, which at the team was embroiled in a relegation scrap. Having played a huge part in the clubs’ survival in Ligue 1 this year it appears the player has made it clear that he wants to move on.
Reports suggest that the players agent has told the club to make the deal, while Cabella is on holiday in Corsica. Nicollin told the French press that “the deal is there” and rumours suggest that personal terms are the only issue left to be discussed. Newcastle are believed to be happy in offering a 6 year deal, which will match that of Yohan Cabaye, who left for PSG last January.
The team looked in disarray after the sale of Cabaye, their captain and midfield linchpin. Cabella could go some way to plugging that gap – 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 on his left or right foot. He has been compared to Hatem Ben Arfa in his ability on the ball, and his stats from last term suggest his pressing and tackling success rate high up the field are superior to his fellow Frenchman’s.
He managed 14 goals and five assists in Ligue 1, playing in 37 games. His performances gained him an international call up, making his debut in a 4-0 rout of Norway. Dider Deschamps did not initially select Cabella for his final 23 man World Cup squad, however injuries to Frank RIbery and Clement Grenier, which ruled the creative duo out of the tournament, led to Cabella’s late call up.
While he did not get off the bench in Brazil, Cabella will hope a high profile season, at a club boasting a raft of Frenchmen, will once again put him on Deschamp’s radar. France will host the next European Championships in 2016 and it will take some big performances from the younger players to force their way into a squad which impressed at the World Cup this summer.
With three permanent signings under his belt, the Magpies show no signs of stopping in their recruitment drive. Alan Pardew wishes to add Dutch World Cup star Daryl Janmaat to his defence, although a bid was turned down this week, and Monaco forward Emmanuel Riviere is also expected on Tyneside this week to finalise a deal.
The club have moved quickly to add strength to a severely depleted squad, with Mathieu Debuchy set to leave for Arsenal once Pardew secures a replacement. A woeful final 6 months of the season saw the Magpies fans lose a lot of their infamous faith, and rumours suggest that the sudden splashing of cash from Ashley reflects a dramatic drop-off in season ticket renewals for the new term.
The addition of Cabella will add that je ne sais quoi that the Newcastle midfield has been sorely lacking of late. His speed of thought and creativity on the ball will be just the thing the Geordie people want to see. Providing for the clubs revamped strike-force will come naturally to the 24 year old, and with more signings still to come, optimism might just be alive and kicking on Tyneside.
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