Manchester United have needed a central midfielder for years, and while they have tried to bring players in, they each have failed to make that position their own. Anderson, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tom Cleverley, Marouane Fellaini and Kleberson have all attempted to fill the void left by Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, but all have failed spectacularly. The position must be giving Moyes nightmares, especially after wasting £27.5m on Fellaini. The former Everton manager needs to prove himself to the Old Trafford faithful and finally fixing the central midfield issue would go some way to doing that. He has looked at players like Luka Modric, Cesc Fabregas and Koke, who would all be great signings, but they are all highly unlikely to leave their current clubs in this window and Manchester United can’t afford to wait. A player who hasn’t had any concrete links to the champions is Yohan Cabaye, which is surprising as anyone who has watched the French midfielder will have noticed he would be perfect for Manchester United.
The French International is a very technical player with an impressive passing range and the stamina to get all around the pitch. He contributes defensively for Newcastle with a tackle success rate of 75.56% from 45 tackles. In the final third, he has scored seven goals which has already surpassed his tally from last season. This is mainly due to Alan Pardew giving the midfielder a free role off Loic Remy. The only Manchester United players with more goals than Cabaye this season are Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, while no midfielder at the club is near seven goals this season. There is no doubting the quality of the Newcastle midfielder as he controlled the game at Old Trafford earlier this season as his side beat Manchester United 1-0, he would certainly be an improvement on their current crop of central midfielders.
He would also add a cutting edge in the final third which would benefit the champions greatly as they have struggled to break teams down this season. So far this season, the former Lille midfielder has created 33 chances, with two leading to goals. His pass completion rate of 76.06% is slightly below par for a player of Cabaye’s quality, but this may be due to his role in the Newcastle side. A lot is expected of Cabaye, so he sometimes takes on the risky pass too often as he is relied upon to force the breakthrough. If he moved to Old Trafford, his pass completion rate will no doubt improve.
Manchester United have struggled to bring in players since David Moyes took the managers job, and acquiring Cabaye would prove to be equally as difficult. Mike Ashley is known for driving a hard bargain, as can be shown by Andy Carroll’s ludicrous £35m move to Liverpool. The Newcastle owner will have seen that Manchester United paid £27.5m for Fellaini, so he is unlikely to sell to Moyes for less than that figure given that his French midfielder’s stock is high at the moment. Also the player himself has come out and said he will be staying at St James’ Park until the end of the season. He is desperate for Champions League football, so may consider it a risk to move to club who are far from guaranteed a place in next season’s competition. PSG have been touted as the midfielder’s most likely destination given Laurent Blanc’s huge admiration for Cabaye, but the French club have yet to submit a bid.
If reports are to be believed that Manchester United have money to spend, they should view the signing of Cabaye as a priority. Despite Newcastle being difficult to negotiate with and Cabaye’s likely concern about the champions current position, who are only one point above Newcastle, money talks in football. A bid of between £25-30m could be too much to resist for Newcastle, who are currently negotiating with Montpellier for Remy Cabella, a player many consider as Cabaye’s long term replacement. The Frenchman would also be available for the Champions League knockout stages which would appeal to Manchester United.