PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain 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 press conference Wednesday. No financial details were given by the club, but the 28-year-old Cabaye reportedly cost ?20 million ($27.3 million) with an additional ?5 million ($6.8 million) in bonuses.
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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 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.
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 also is 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 ($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.
PSG is trying to improve its global brand but also give the club more of a French feel, having previously tried to lure coach Arsene Wenger away from Arsenal. 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.
Last season, PSG signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic — one of the world’s best center-forwards — along with Silva, and they helped the previously underperforming club to its first league title since 1994.
PSG tops the French league by three points and is battling to stay ahead of Monaco, which is in second place and is bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, meaning it also has massive funds to recruit players.
As well as his assured touch and clever passing, Cabaye is hard-working and has a steely edge to his game that means he is rarely intimidated when the midfield battle intensifies.
But Cabaye’s arrival also could herald Matuidi’s departure. His contract ends after this season, and he could earn himself a big signing-on fee and much higher wages at another club because of the absence of a transfer fee.