Cabaye punished by Newcastle
Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye has been punished for his refusal to play for the club as Arsenal attempted to prise him out of Alan Pardew's grasp.
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7. Yohan Cabaye
The 27-year-old France international was conspicuous by his absence for the first three games of the season after the Gunners tabled a £10million bid for his services on the eve of the opening weekend trip to Manchester City, giving rise to reports that he had gone on strike.
Magpies owner Mike Ashley dismissed the offer out of hand and the summer transfer window closed with the former Lille man, who was valued at around double that, still on board.
Manager Pardew had previously diplomatically declined to go into detail over the situation, but having seen Cabaye make a public apology over the stand-off earlier this week, revealed the player has been disciplined and in the process, issued a tacit confirmation.
The 52-year-old said: "He has also been disciplined for his actions this week and he accepted that in good faith, and therefore we move on now.
"As far as I'm concerned, especially on Saturday, it would be nice if our 51,000, 52,000 [fans], whatever it is, give him the support he now deserves for at least apologising for that and taking the punishment that came with it.
"That's a signal to the players here and players elsewhere as well that until the contract is signed with another club, there is a responsibility to the club you are at.
"As I say, he has accepted that in good faith and he was brilliant last week.
"He's a fantastic player, not just for us, but for France, and I know he is going to have a great season."
Cabaye returned to the starting line-up at Aston Villa last Saturday having made his first appearance of the campaign, to a mixed reaction, as a substitute during the 1-0 win over Fulham a week earlier.
His performance in a 2-1 victory in the Midlands confirmed his return to form and left Pardew confident that one of his most influential players is now fully back in harness.
Asked if he thought it was important that Cabaye had apologised, he said: "Part of me does, and part of me feels it's about performances.
"What Newcastle fans want to see him do is pull the that shirt on and give everything he's got. I think he did that against Aston Villa, and that's the signal for going forward whenever you get a scenario like that.
"I don't really want to comment on it anymore. It's now dead and gone and now we just want, and I want, Yohan to perform to the best of his ability.
"He has been brilliant this week again. Trust me, he's a fabulous player and very important to us.
"His performance last week spoke a thousand words. He didn't really need to do that [apologise] in the week in terms of winning over our fans, I don't think. His performances will do that and his endeavour."
If Cabaye's display at Villa Park gave Pardew cause for optimism, it was compatriot Hatem Ben Arfa's contribution which went much of the way to claiming the points as he scored the opening goal and then set up Yoan Gouffran for the winner.
Undoubtedly a player of rich talent, he revealed the extent of his personal ambition this week when he spoke of his dream of one day winning the Ballon d'Or, currently the personal preserve of Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi.
Pardew said: "It's always a nice dream and I encourage players to reach for the stars, so all good to him.
"But as an individual talent, you have to say he has the potential, but it's about consistency and staying fit with Hatem and if he can do that, then he will give himself a chance."