Yohan Cabaye may not be the biggest name to date that money giants PSG have signed. It is quite possible however, that he may be the latest signing to make PSG a serious threat in European football, writes Vincent O’ Shea.
It was inevitable once PSG had made their opening offer, Yohan Cabaye would be making the transfer from being a Geordie into being a Parisian. After an initial £14m offer was rejected by Newcastle, reports emerged hours later claiming Newcastle and PSG had agreed a deal believing to be in and around the £20m mark. There had been speculation over the French playmaker all month and Alan Pardew feared the worst. While Pardew desperately tries to secure a replacement, the French giants have their man who could make them a real threat in this season’s Champions League.
Of course mega bucks PSG already have several top class players at their disposal. The big spenders possess the likes of Thiago Silva, Edison Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez. The signing of a player of the calibre of Cabaye will further bolster their ranks. The 28 year old is the perfect all around central midfielder, these type of players are in short supply at the moment. Cabaye, who started his career with Lille, is a player who is very comfortable on the ball, can pick out a big pass, create chances, score goals and get around the pitch. He isn’t a bad free kick taker either. Followers of the Premier League are well aware of his attributes, Arsenal even had a big rejected for him in the summer.
While Cabaye is a player any side would love to have, PSG are a team that can divide peoples opinions. It is very difficult to judge PSG when they haven’t being seriously tested this season against a big team. They qualified with relative ease from a straight forward Champions League group while the overall quality of the Ligue One has to be questioned. Their fellow big spenders Monaco seem the closest team to them who granted bought a few decent players in the summer like Falcao but seen as they were newly promoted, it doesn’t say a lot for the rest. PSG are currently 3 points clear of Monaco with 15 wins, 6 draws and 1 loss. Solid but certainly not dominant.
Interestingly PSG are still a very young club, only founded in 1970. PSG are one of the richest clubs in the world, the Manchester City of France if you like. This was as a result of them being bought in 2011 by the Qatar Investment Authority and their endless cash. Les Parisiens quickly became the best in France after a flurry of big money signings helped them win the 2013 title for the first time in 19 years, led by Ibrahimovic’s 30 goal haul. Of course it is good for French Football that it has a club capable of competing with the very best in Europe. The closest it has come was through Lyon who won an incredible seven successive league titles between 2001 and 2008, in a period they regularly caused some of the big teams problems in the Champions League. Lyon had top class players such as Karim Benzema, Juninho, Michael Essien and Florent Malouda. However Lyon were always doomed as they were labelled as a selling club with many of Europe’s big guns using them as a supermarket, Lyon eventually faded away. Now it is time for PSG to take the mantle for French football and because of their financial power, they look more sustainable than Lyon were.
Can PSG win this seasons Champions League? Well they have the potential to be a threat, they no doubt possess a multi talented squad and have all the tools to be successful, the big question will be their mentality. A tie with German side Bayer Leverkusen awaits in the Last Sixteen. It is by no means a forgone conclusion but you’d expect PSG to be too strong for Germany’s second best team and advance, especially judging by Leverkusen’s two games against Manchester United in the group stages. However if you are looking for a potential upset, this could be the tie, lets face it Real Madrid will wipe the floor with Schalke. This is the problem for the French giants, they have to prove themselves by beating one of the top teams to gain a serious reputation. They came very close against a waning Barcelona side in last seasons Quarter Finals before just falling short on away goals. Barcelona were there for the taking but it seemed PSG lacked the belief to get over the line. PSG are likely to encounter a similar task should get past Leverkusen, it is there where a lot of questions about them will be answered.
For now PSG fans can enjoy their football and Yohan Cabaye is a great signing. He can be the player that will get them up to the next level. It is time these highly paid stars became leaders, Thiago Silva is the player who may well do that. It takes a lot more than just ability to win European Cup’s. Only time will tell whether PSG can take the bull by the horns and gain the glory they crave so much. It certainly will be fascinating.
Pundit Arena, Vincent O’ Shea.