Has the damage already been done at Newcastle?

Yohan CabayeNewcastle United have hardly had a summer to remember. A transfer window that continued to frustrate, its closure in some ways brought a degree of relief to the Geordie faithful.

Star midfielder Yohan Cabaye pressed hard for a move to new climes in North London, and the eventual collapse of such a move mean that the scars of the window still run deep to this day. The Premier League club have been here before with Cabaye, and his desperate apology is somewhat convenient for a man who shows little loyalty to his club. Cabaye made the following grovelling remarks after the close of the window:

“The most important thing for me is to be on the pitch, and to play,” Cabaye told the club’s official website.

“I want to do my best for the club, for the team, for everyone and, of course, I want to win every game we play.”

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“The ovation at Aston Villa was very nice to hear. If the fans were – or still are – mad at me for what happened then I understand and I apologise to them. I want to come back from what has happened. For Newcastle fans, football is their life and I want to say that I am going to give everything – as I have from my first day here – from today until the end of the season.”

For me his comments are more convenient than they are meaningful. If the Frenchman had had his wish he would have been elsewhere come September, and this is not a fact fast forgotten by fans who invest so much emotionally in their respective clubs. Indeed Newcastle of all clubs have a reputation of affording their players the greatest of respect, but such an affection is a two way relationship and Cabaye will have to do a little more than make a heartfelt statement.

Cabaye is perhaps fortunate in the fact that Newcastle need him now as much as he needs them. A club that are a shadow of their former selves, his quality in the middle of the park is something that Newcastle can ill-afford to lose. The best way that Cabaye can win back the Gallowgate faithful is to get his head down and turn in some performances on the pitch. Maybe the Frenchman will be off in January or June, but for me he owes it to Newcastle to make good on his statement and help revive this once great club.

Perhaps if Cabaye was at a club of higher standing Pardew could have taken a much harder line, but the reality is that the Frenchman will be integral to Newcastle’s hopes this season as much as they would hate to admit it now.

Of course we all try to pretend that the days of integrity and clubmanship are still upon us, but in reality they are long dead. People are perhaps more accepting of players wanting to further themselves, but the problem with Cabaye is that his overtures are as explicit as they are regular.

The Arsenal debacle aside, Cabaye has already done his best to manufacture a move to Spurs as well as make clear his constant ambition to join PSG.  Newcastle embrace their heroes in droves, but for someone that is clearly a footballing mercenary it will be difficult for Newcastle fans to ever fully accept the Frenchman back with open arms.

The Frenchman knows that he must knuckle down and perform, or risk losing his place for Rio. Clearly something he holds dear, Newcastle would be wise to make him know that if he wants to be at the World Cup in Brazil then he needs to afford the club a level of respect and decency going forward.

I expect much of the same in January though, with his agent furiously plugging a move. Maybe a deal in the end may be prudent if they can get what they perceive as value from the sale. I cannot help but think the Frenchman would be better placed playing week in week out for Newcastle in a World Cup year, but clearly his direction isn’t driven by logic and reason if the past is anything to go on.

A season of scintillating performances to fire the club back up the table and who knows, but for me this relationship is a broken one and no manner of words are going to fix it.

Is the Cabaye situation solvable?

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