Newcastle United fan and Eredivisie correspondent Michael Chapman gives his take on the Magpies purchase of former Montpellier midfielder Rémy Cabella.
Name: Rémy Cabella
Current Club: Newcastle United FC
Position: Attacking Midfielder
As Mike Ashley keeps making it rain on Tyneside we have now seen the long rumored transfer of Rémy Cabella from Montpellier to Newcastle United. The attacking midfielder brings a bit of flash that will of course please the Newcastle United faithful, but can he bring it consistently? Can he turn into more than just another Hatem Ben Arfa? Many have mistakenly called him the replacement for Yohan Cabaye, which a look at the stats will demonstrate is far from accurate. But it isn’t quite fair to say he is a Ben Arfa clone either, he seems to work harder and be more defensive minded, even if that isn’t saying all that much.
When it comes to passing its important to look at Cabella’s whole body of work, erm… his 2013 work, more so than a single stat like completion percentage. Cabella attempted more passes then Ben Arfa, which means he is less selfish. He averaged more key passes per 90 minutes than both Cabaye* or Ben Arfa.
*includes only his 19 matches in the 2013/14 PL season
Maybe more important is the amount of work Cabella put in deeper on the pitch. He won 1.83 tackles, well above Ben Arfa’s .48. The former Montpellier player doubled his interceptions, .96 versus .48 per 90 minutes played.
*All stats taken from Squawka.com
In a recent conversation with noted Ligue 1 expert Jeremy Smith (@jeremysmith98) he pointed out some of Rémy Cabella’s strengths: “(He) has potential to do it all. Skills, good shot, great vision, strong character.” and also some of his weaknesses: “…only downsides, (he is) slight so can be bullied, dives.” You see the key strength mentioned by Jeremy there is “strong character”, something an overwhelming amount of Newcastle fans would admit Ben Arfa lacks.
Jeremy also pointed out that Cabella can play a role at wing or as a number ten, which is frankly where I envision him. But then where does that leave a player like Ben Arfa, a very talented individual who has yet to mature enough to make a consistent impact. Is Alan Pardew’s plan to let Siem De Jong, Papiss Demba Cissé and Emmanuel Rivière fight it out for a center forward position? As much as I love De Jong I am not sure he is quite ready for that position in the overly physical Premier League. Cissé has been so cold for so long he could hold your ice cream cone in August and it wouldn’t melt. Well, that would leave us with new boy Rivière who is probably not ready either.
Actually baring the purchase of another center forward I think Cabella will slot into a left attacking role allowing Yoan Gouffran to play as central attacker. Cabella could also be used as a number ten in situations where Pardew chooses to use a more traditional or experienced central forward.
These are the two line-ups I think Pardew has in mind:
How do you think Rémy Cabella will do at Newcastle United? Can he make an impression in th EPL?
Comment below or on Twitter @90MinuteCynic.