One to Watch - Yohan Cabaye
Name: Yohan Cabaye
Date of Birth: 14/1/1986
Former Clubs: Lille
League Appearances (Goals): 210 (33)
International Appearances (Goals): 9 (0)
Stat of the Day: Yohan Cabaye played 53 competitive games in the 2011 calendar year
With Newcastle`s striking sensation Demba Ba and Vital QPR`s previous One to Watch Cheik Tioté away in Africa, the job of continuing Newcastle`s meteoric rise up the table falls on the shoulders of bargain-of-the-season Yohan Cabaye. It is no coincidence that the top sides are looking to small, finesse-based players to prop up their teams attacking force - Modric at Spurs, Silva at City and Mata at Chelsea; Cabaye fits such an elite group, and the talented midfielder has provided the platform for Newcastle`s prosperous this season thus far. Arsene Wenger seriously questioned his scouts` inability to pinpoint Cabaye as a prospective Arsenal player - they had responded by stating they presumed he would head to Barcelona or Real Madrid. It is testament to the job Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr have done at St Jam- The Sports Direct Arena, that they have replaced the Joey Barton`s of the world with players of Cabaye`s calibre.
'Le Dreamboat` possesses a simple yet enthralling, tempo-controlling playing style, not to mention deadly set-piece execution. He is so attracted to the passing side of the game, he made sure he asked Alan Pardew about the playing style Newcastle would adopt when he first met his new manager. Add to that the fact that the 25-year-old is 'sad` when he touches the ball less than 100 times in a game, you have all the ingredients to a potentially world-class player. Mark Hughes first job as QPR manager will be to rummage around the depths of Loftus Road to find two fit, competent central midfielders to come up against the in-form Cabaye - good luck gaffer.
Cabaye began his football career playing for hometown club Tourcoing FC before joining Lille`s Youth Academy as a teenager. He excelled with the youth team and became a regular in the reserves before eventually making his first team debut in November 2004 in a league match against Istres. The following season Cabaye became a regular for the Lille side, making 20 starts and appearing in both the Champions League and UEFA Cup. His first professional goal came in November 2005 as Lille lost 3-2 to Auxerre.
The midfielder`s development continued to surpass expectations as he came to the fore in the 2009/2010 season when he scored 15 goals and made 10 assists as Lille finished fourth in the league and reached the knockout stages of the Europa League. Cabaye was instrumental in his team`s success the following season, as they clinched both the Ligue 1 title along with the Coupe de France. The 25-year-old has also represented France at every level from Under 16`s and eventually won his first international cap in August 2010 in a friendly against Norway. The small playmaker is now plying his trade for Newcastle having signed for £4.8 million in July 2011 and is quickly earning admirers across Europe.