Many fans of English football will know Yohan Cabaye for his three years with Newcastle United between 2011 and 2014, but the French international has enjoyed a stellar career on either side of the English Channel before and after his stint in the north-east.
Born in Tourcoing in northern France in 1986, he joined his hometown club as a six-year-old and spent seven years with them before making the nine mile move to Lille. Progressing through their youth academy, he was given his first outing in the Intertoto Cup in 2004 which Les Dogues won.
After 14 appearances in all competitions in his debut season , the following year saw the 19-year-old establish himself as a regular, playing five times in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup, including a 1-0 win against Manchester United.
This increased exposure earned him international recognition, and having been previously capped by Les Bleus at under-16 and under-18 levels he was a part of the under-19 side that won the UEFA European Under-19 championships in 2005, which was followed by success with the under-20s in the prestigious Toulon Tournament a year later.
After captaining the under-21s, Cabaye was given his first senior cap in a friendly against Norway in August 2010 and soon received a second appearance against Brazil the following February which led to him becoming a regular during France’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
Lille meanwhile were going from strength to strength and soon Cabaye was sharing a dressing room with now-household names such as Eden Hazard, Mathieu Debuchy, Gervinho and Palace’s own Pape Souare. In 2010/11 they stormed Ligue 1, winning the title by eight points to clinch their first championship since 1954, and added the French Cup to complete the double.
However after 37 goals in 243 games Cabaye decided to join Newcastle at the end of that triumph campaign. The Magpies had only returned from the Championship the season before but Cabaye’s performances in midfield helped Alan Pardew’s Tynesiders to a shock fifth-place finish in the Premier League, narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification.
As expected, at the end of the season he was named in the France squad for Euro 2012 and played in a 1-1 draw against England before scoring in the resulting game against Ukraine, but after getting out of their group Laurent Blanc’s men were knocked out by eventual winners Spain.
Back on the club scene Cabaye played a key role in helping Pardew’s side to the Europa League quarter-finals and was the subject of interest from Arsenal on the eve of the 2013/14 season but stayed with Newcastle. But when a £19 million bid from Paris St Germain materialised the following January he returned to his homeland having played 93 times for Newcastle, scoring 18 goals.
Five months later he had clinched his second French league and cup double, a feat he repeated the following campaign with the all-conquering side from the Parc des Princes. He also started four of France’s five games in the 2014 World Cup sandwiched in between those campaigns, and currently has 38 caps for his country and three goals.
But this summer has seen him decide to return to England, and after plenty of behind-the-scenes activity he has put pen to paper on a three year deal with Palace, aiming to help the club continue to improve in the Premier League as well as securing his and France’s spot at Euro 2016 their home tournament.