Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cabaye to PSG, another midfielder on the move

So the French international will leave the EPL and head back to Ligue 1. That seems to be counter to the direction of these usual transfers. With a fee north of 20m sterling pounds the star midfielder will head from the Toon Army to Paris. Of course with the deep coffers available at PSG this move is not a surprise. Being able to pay whatever fee necessary, PSG tends to be able to afford the players they want...to a certain extent. But what is the bigger picture here, the one on the pitch.

  • For PSG this move was one of the worst kept secrets. PSG lost Rabiot to injury the need to pick up some midfield cover - they were rumored to be pursuing the likes of Mata, Pogba and Cabaye. It is more a question of which player not if they would be adding a midfielder. PSG and Blanc will now have the depth they need if they hope to compete in both Ligue 1 as well as make a deep run in the Champions League. With the likes of Matuidi, Motta, Lucas, Menez and Veratti all competing for time in the midfield it will be interesting to see how Blanc rotates his roster. I think you will see Matuidi, Cabaye and Motta rotating as the two holding players on the pitch. If Blanc wants to go more defensive you might see all three midfielders as the middle 3 in a
    Listening to the cash register from Paris
    4-3-3 or even a 4-3-2-1 with Ibra up front and Cavani/Pastore/Menez rotating as the offensive 2. Blanc has more options and depth now, he needs to ensure he utilizes this depth properly and manages the egos.
  • Newcastle had legitimate aspirations to finish in the 6, at least finish on the top half of the table. Much of their recent success was in large part how well the "frenchies" on Newcastle were clicking - Cabaye, Sissoko, Remy, Ben Arfa etc - were generating the energy, creativity and some wins. It will be interesting to see how Pardew manages losing a key element for the remainder of the season. I don't think the loss of Cabaye will push Newcastle down to the relegation zone, but the ability to stay top half of table might be a challenge. However, at the end of the day Cabaye was clearly itching to move on - doing a dance with Arsenal over last summer - so Newcastle was able to cash in on a great piece of business. They bought Cabaye from Lille for 4.5m pounds, not a bad profit!
  • What about the rest of the league? Mainly Arsenal...once again a player that had been linked to the Gunners - Cabaye - gets away from Wenger. Granted, I am not sure that the priority for the Gunners was another midfielder. But it is another sign of malaise for Arsenal...once again losing out on a player that would have helped Arsenal's title hopes. Yet again, Wenger will not add to a roster that has some glaring holes - another winger would be nice or does Wenger not realize that Walcott is out? What about another striker...a good one not some 20 year old who wouldn't be ready for a few years! I fear that if Arsene does not wake up and do something this week, we will be regretting his inactivity once again when the title slips our of Arsenal's hands...once again.
Seems like this will be a quiet transfer period with only Mata and Cabaye making waves. And Mata was a sale of excess inventory from Chelsea, the fact he went to Manchester United is what made it more interesting. Otherwise the one big club -Arsenal - that needs to make a move has been, frustratingly, quiet. Come on Wenger there are still some days left in Jan...do something...please.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nasri, the enigma for Deschamps

I has been about week since Manchester City and France midfielder Nasri went down with a knee injury. At first feared to be the worst scenario - a torn knee ligament. However it appears that Samir will be back within 2 months. Assuming he is fully healthy when he returns he will be available for the French national team service in Brazil. So why is this a problem?

When Nasri first went down, I actually thought in the back of my head that this might be a blessing in disguise. Why? Nasri is an enigma for DD. He is too talented to be ignored, yet way too inconsistent to be relied upon game to game. And where was his natural position? Out on the left...well that is where Ribery is firmly entrenched. In the middle of the formation, that makes the most sense, but he does not seem to have the discipline to hold that position. What about the right? He seems to drift too much to keep the right side occupied. Finally does he fit in a 4-3-3 (a formation I hope DD goes with)? For these reasons I felt that if Nasri had been unavailable for selection, that might actually be a blessing in disguise.

Of course now when he comes back to full healthy, gets selected and goes on to have a monster World Cup...I will have to eat my words. Yet I doubt that will happen.
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