PSG spending spree continues as Cabaye joins
AP January 31, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain has signed midfielder Yohan Cabaye from Newcastle on a three-and-a-half year deal Wednesday, the latest step in the ambitious French club's bid to become one of Europe's biggest teams.
PSG presented Cabaye at a news conference on Wednesday. No financial details were given by the club, but the 28-year-old Cabaye reportedly cost 20 million euros (US$27.3 million) with an additional 5 million euros (US$6.8 million) in bonuses.
"I'm very, very happy to be here. I'm really very proud too to be a part of this immense project PSG want to build and I'm eager to start with my new team," Cabaye said. "I'd like to thank Newcastle for allowing this transfer to happen. It's difficult to turn PSG down these days. I want to win trophies and PSG offer me that. There was no hesitation on my part."
Cabaye is renowned for his outstanding shooting from distance and is a free kick specialist, giving PSG that extra bit of firepower that it lacked in a workmanlike midfield featuring ball-winners Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta. He could make his debut in Friday's home game against Bordeaux.
"I'm impatient to start, I hope so," he said. "I'm ready to put my new colors on and to represent PSG. I feel in good form so there'll be no problem at that level. I hope I'll be on the team sheet on Friday."
He scored seven goals in 19 league games for Newcastle this season after missing the start of the campaign as he tried to force a move through to English Premier League leaders Arsenal.
"Arsenal made an offer for me but Newcastle decided not to accept it," he said. "That was their choice and at the start it was hard to take, but looking back on things and considering how we played in the subsequent six months, it was the right choice."
Cabaye also fell out with Joe Kinnear, Newcastle's director of football, who criticized the intelligence of Newcastle fans in a radio interview after getting the job. During it, he also mispronounced several players' names — appearing to refer to Cabaye as "Kebab," which Kinnear later said wasn't his intent.
"I don't hold a grudge. Life goes on, I wish them all the best and I hope they qualify for Europe because I still have friends there," Cabaye said. "I spent two and a half extraordinary years at Newcastle. I'll never forget the time I spent there."
Cabaye, who has 26 appearances for France, will be reunited with PSG boss Laurent Blanc, the former French coach who called him up to the national team in 2010. Cabaye went on to become a key player under Blanc and scored against Ukraine at the 2012 European Championship.
He is also eligible for the Champions League, giving PSG an even stronger look as it prepares to face Bayer Leverkusen next month as the knockout rounds get underway.
Since Qatari backers QSI took charge in May, 2011, PSG already has bought four players costing more than 40 million euros (US$55 million) each — Brazil captain Thiago Silva, Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore — the club's first marquee signing who has since fallen out of favor — Brazil winger Lucas and Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani.
"I'm coming to a very big European club. For me that means competition for places in every position, but I will give my all," Cabaye said. "The manager has given me no guarantees. It's up to me to get in the team. I have no problem with that."
PSG is trying to improve its global brand but also to give the club more of a French feel, having previously tried to lure coach Arsene Wenger away from Arsenal, and Cabaye's signing is an important step in that sense.
"He's French and it's very important for us to recruit French players at PSG, to bring them back into the French league," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.
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