Why Yohan Cabaye Failed at PSG

In a move that surprised no one, Yohan Cabaye completed his transfer to Crystal Palace today for a reported €14 million after a disappointing campaign at Paris Saint-Germain.

Often played out of position and plagued with injuries, the French international never recaptured the form he once had at Newcastle United. Despite a few brief flashes of brilliance at PSG, he simply wasn’t consistent enough to justify his position in Paris’ talented midfield. He was so inconsistent in fact, Adrien Rabiot, who stars for the French under-21 national team, moved above him in the pecking order.

Cabaye’s first goal for Paris.

The timing of theCabaye transfer to Paris was a major reason for his failure. Cabaye was Laurent Blanc’s main target when he took the manager position in the summer of 2013, as he was one of his favorites while managing the French National team. However, the deal never quite managed to happen. Cabaye eventually signed for PSG in January 2014, coming off an excellent first half of the season with Newcastle, possibly the best run of form in his entire career. But he was unable to break into the already established midfield of Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti, and Blaise Matuidi.

Last season, he was given the chance to show he could make the holding midfield position his own with Motta struggling and reportedly looking for a move away from the club. Cabaye’s best position however was in a more advanced role but Verratti’s form made him the better option. Blanc tried switching Motta with Cabaye but the Frenchman couldn’t adapt to the role and his persistent injuries didn’t do him any favors.

If Cabaye arrived in the summer of 2013, things might have turned out differently. Cabaye would have likely been in the starting XI and may have had a better chance of succeeding at Paris. At the same time though, this scenario could have also stunted the growth and development of Verratti as he would have taken a backseat to Cabaye. Looking back now, this is a sacrifice no PSG fan would’ve been willing to make.

Paris supporters should hold no ill-will towards Cabaye. Despite his struggles he was a professional and gave his all for the club. The promise of playing time in a competitive league was too much for Cabaye to turn down as Euro 2016 is right around the corner. For Paris Saint-Germain, they rid themselves of some dead wood and are free to pursue other talents. You don’t see this often, but Cabaye’s transfer is a win-win for all involved.

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