Yohan Cabaye learnt many lessons on his return to Ligue 1. After repeatedly begging Newcastle United to be allowed to leave for what was seemingly the promised land of Paris St. Germain he found first-team opportunities relatively hard to come by and as a result he finds himself back in the Premier League, on Friday being unveiled as Crystal Palace’s new £10m record signing.
That also means he reunites with Alan Pardew, who consistently got the best out of him on Tyneside. Luring him from Lille in the summer of 2011 was a major factor in Newcastle’s unexpected fifth-placed finish in his first season, but as interest from even bigger clubs became gradually more rife, his head began to turn and that coincided with a slip down the table. This led to something of a public falling out with supporters and the inevitable move finally took place in January 2014.
But he had not reckoned on the difficulties he would encounter at the Parc des Princes amid an ocean of competition for a place in the centre of midfield. With Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti, Lucas Moura, Thiago Motta and the highly-rated Adrien Rabiot all available to Laurent Blanc, just 13 starts in the league last season was a damning indictment, showing that 38 French international caps counted for little at a club with such vast riches.
So Palace emerge as the big winners, and at 28 years of age, Cabaye is unlikely to become as in-demand at Selhurst Park as he has been in times gone by, while his less than happy experience in the French capital may prompt him to knuckle down and focus all of his attentions on maintaining the progress the Eagles have made under Pardew in 2015.
Few sides in the English top-flight were able to match the form they showed in the second half of the season, with some attacking performances characterised by blistering pace out wide and an aptitude for set-pieces eventually rewarding them with their first top half finish at the highest echelon since 1991, courtesy of a final day victory over Swansea City.
All of that has led to high hopes for the upcoming campaign, with much anticipation regarding how far the South London side can go. Even without Cabaye they seemed to stand a fine chance of making a bid for the top eight, but this landmark deal represents a huge statement of intent from those at the top of the club that their eyes are set on finishing higher than 10th.
With his ample creativity and combative edge, he should fit in well alongside captain Mile Jedinak and previous record signing James McArthur, while the presence of Joe Ledley and Jordon Mutch ensures that there is considerable strength in depth. Another string to his bow is a specialism for dead-ball situations, but he will do well to take over that responsibility from the normally reliable Jason Puncheon.
Cabaye will likely feel that he has unfinished business in English football and will be determined to put his PSG woes behind him. A quality player with great experience at both club and international level, he can only help propel Palace to an even higher standing, reinforcing their status as an upwardly mobile side.
Get upto £200 in free matched bets with bet365 - Click here to find out more