Arsenal are believed to be leading the chase to sign Yohan Cabaye, a player they initially tried to sign 18 months ago.
Arsene Wenger is a long-standing admirer of his French compatriot, but he angered Newcastle United in the summer of 2013 when he tabled a bid of £10million for his signature. Alan Pardew, the Magpies manager, was particularly furious with an offer he felt was disrespectful, especially as it clearly turned the player’s head on the eve of the new Premier League season.
Cabaye eventually settled down to resume his career at St James’ Park, but when Paris-Saint Germain registered an interest in him during the winter it was always likely he would return to his homeland. The 28-year-old signed for the capital club in January of this year for a fee in the region of £20million, which is a handsome profit on the £4.5million Newcastle paid for him in 2011.
Although the midfielder helped his new club win Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue in his debut season, he has become increasingly marginalised this term. Laurent Blanc has an embarrassment of riches to pick from his current squad, and has often preferred the likes of Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore, Blaise Matuidi and youngster Adrien Rabiot during the course of the season.
It is widely expected that Cabaye will quit Paris when the window reopens, with a return to England the most likely outcome. Liverpool and Manchester United have been linked with the former Lille man, but The Express claim Arsenal are leading the chase for his signature. The Gunners would have to pay £19million for the player, a fee which is within his winter budget.
Wenger was always likely to register an interest in Cabaye should be become available, but this has been made all the more important following the injuries to Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere. The Spaniard has a calf muscle problem, whilst the latter is set to miss three months of the season with an ankle injury, although his manager is confident he will return stronger than ever.
“I think he will be back at the end of February, beginning of March, and he will focus on coming back to rehab, having a strong rehab, and then I am sure he will help us to do well until the end of the season,” said Wenger. “Jack always came out stronger and, when I spoke with him, the final sprint of the season is already in his mind and he wants to come back stronger.”
Arsenal resume their Premier League campaign on Saturday with a potentially tricky trip to the Midlands to take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, in what is the opening top-flight match of the weekend. Already 15 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, Wenger will be aware that nothing less than maximum points against the Baggies will suffice.
Would Cabaye be the ideal signing for Arsenal, or should they look elsewhere? Let us know what you think by joining in the discussion below.