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Why Yohan Cabaye’s move to the Middle East just doesn’t make sense

Yohan Cabaye
Photo: Getty Images

Crystal Palace

Why Yohan Cabaye’s move to the Middle East just doesn’t make sense

The 32-year-old left Selhurst Park after a stellar season.

Earlier this week, French midfielder Yohan Cabaye completed a move to Arabian Gulf League side Al Nasr following the expiration of his contract at Crystal Palace.

The transfer is a baffling move for the 32-year-old central midfielder, as Cabaye was essential to Palace’s survival last season and still possessed the ability to perform at the highest level. 

In Cabaye’s 100-plus appearances for the Eagles, he established himself as a firm fan favourite and an incredibly consistent performer.

Contributing intelligent forward passes and well-honed technique as well as defensive fortitude, the Frenchman was the ideal Premier League midfielder at Selhurst Park. 

His statistics reveal the exceptional impact he had at Palace Not only did Cabaye lead all Eagles in interceptions last season, he bested all other players in the Premier League, with the exception of N’Golo Kante.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

That stunning accolade reveals how good Cabaye was, as he not only excelled at club level, but was among the best at snuffing out play in the entire division.

It is this elite level of performance that makes his transfer to Al Nasr even the more baffling.


Why leave Palace on good form when he had established himself as an integral part of the team? And why depart to the Arabian Gulf League of all places?

Cabaye clearly could have been a key cog in Roy Hodgson’s set-up next season, and would have been crucial to Palace’s attempt to break into the top half of the Premier League.

Yet, instead, he will be plying his trade in a division that would be generously described as a glorified retirement league. 

Sadly, one must assume the decision boiled down to money, as it can be inferred the 32-year-old will be bringing home a hefty paycheck from the Dubai-based club.

Cabaye’s decision to not renew his contract at Selhurst Park and instead set sail for the Arabian Gulf League is hugely disappointing, providing another example of the money-motivated environment of modern football.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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