While this January passed without the usual last minute panic and excitement that usually comes to define the winter transfer window, there were still a great deal of irons in the fire for many clubs in the Premier League and the rest of Europe. It seems the majority of fans were left with too many ‘nearly moments’ and deals that simply got away from their respective teams.
One such move that didn’t quite come to fruition involves former Newcastle and Lille man, Yohan Cabaye, and a reported switch to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham. Although very few concrete reports have actually covered this story, with it largely being left open to more speculative sources and rumour mills, the majority of Spurs fans would have likely been excited by this potential switch for their club and the stylish Frenchman.
Despite the move ultimately failing to take place this January, just how well would have Yohan Cabaye fitted in at White Hart Lane, and to what extent have Tottenham missed a great opportunity in not signing the 29-year-old playmaker?
Fresh from successfully winning the Ligue 1 title with Lille back in 2011, alongside the likes of Gervinho, Moussa Sow, Eden Hazard and Mathieu Debuchy, Yohan Cabaye became an immediate fan favourite in the Premier League when he first signed for Newcastle.
The Magpies enjoyed a fruitful time with their classy midfield maestro on board, finishing an impressive 5th in the league table and qualifying for the Europa League thanks to the efforts of their new look team. Cabaye had been instrumental in creating a strong French theme at the club during his time on Tyneside, and although he left Alan Pardew’s side in rather unceremonious circumstances, the fans will likely think fondly of their former no. 4 for what he could do on the pitch.
Cabaye was blessed with a distinctly clear composure on the ball. The Frenchman was seemingly unfazed by whatever the opposition threw at him. He could use his gifted vision to spread the play to his team mates, ghost past defenders as if they were never there, and often find the back of the net in true style.
The French international inevitably seemed like a big fish in a small pond at Newcastle however, so when his dream move back to Ligue 1 with PSG arose in January 2014, the footballing community were hardly surprised. Things have not been such smooth sailing since then for Yohan Cabaye though, as with a clear lack of game time affecting his form and ability to represent France on the international scene, a move back to the Premier League could have been just the ticket for the aspiring 29-year-old.
Tottenham, with their tendency to sign foreign talent and attempt to mould it into Premier League success, could have therefore been the perfect calling for Yohan Cabaye in this stage of his career. The creative midfielder would have provided Spurs with that bit more class in the middle of the park, as well as another pair of boots for Christian Eriksen to link up so well with. The Frenchman would have also suited playing just behind Pochettino’s free-scoring Harry Kane, in an attacking set-up that would have certainly improved Spurs’ chances of European qualification this season.
As Tottenham have already spent big on a succession of pricey foreign stars recently however, they’ve seen their team struggle as a result of the imbalance created by a number of new faces arriving at once. Perhaps then the Premier League side weren’t quite ready to take on Yohan Cabaye just yet, despite the obvious advantages to having the midfielder in their starting XI.
Because the deal itself didn’t ultimately take place, with the player himself expressing little interest in ever wanting to end his spell with the Parisian giants, Yohan Cabaye remains ‘one that got away’ for Spurs in this season’s rather disappointing January transfer window. As Tottenham’s interest in the PSG man may extend to the summer as well however, perhaps we haven’t quite seen the end of Newcastle’s former fan favourite on these here shores.