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Cabaye can still be Magpies captain one day says Pardew
ALAN PARDEW thinks Yohan Cabaye has won back the hearts of Newcastle United fans and claims the Frenchman remains a future captain of the club.
Despite the absence of the injured Fabricio Coloccini, the skipper’s armband was handed surprisingly to Cheik Tiote at the weekend and he is likely to continue in the role in this Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light.
The decision to ignore Cabaye inspired Tiote back to his best, while there were no apparent negative effects on a former Lille man who impressed and scored a stunning opening goal in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
While fans were frustrated with the way Cabaye went about trying to engineer a move to Arsenal during the transfer window, the majority of those same supporters have been heartened by the attitude he has shown since making his return to the team.
Despite being booed by sections of fans on his first appearance of the season against Fulham, he has turned in a string of good displays since – most notably against Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Everton and Liverpool.
The fact Cabaye refused to play and was disciplined as he tried to push through a £10m switch to the Gunners still prevented Pardew from making him captain on Saturday, but he remains full of admiration for the creative midfielder.
“I don’t think he needs to do that (keep performing to win over the supporters) in the fans’ eyes,” said Pardew. “We are over that. But, again, with the captaincy I thought `hmm, not quite right just yet’ but I am sure he will be captain of this club at some point going forward.
“He was magnificent against Liverpool, a real class act and he keeps reminding us that he is a special player and that is why you get interest from clubs like Arsenal because of the quality that he’s got.”
Arsenal’s decision to quadruple what they were willing to spend on Cabaye to land Mesut Ozil has benefited Newcastle, who would have faced the unenviable task of replacing their key middle man.
The Magpies are likely to see Cabaye at his best in the months ahead because there is also a determination on the player’s part to make France’s World Cup squad.
If he remained in the wilderness at St James’ Park, where he is all smiles again after the uncertainty of the summer, then his place in the Les Bleus’ squad would have been in serious jeopardy.
His stop-start beginning to this season has already led to him dropping down to the bench for his country. He was a second half substitute in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Finland.
Pardew said: “He was left out of France’s game on Tuesday and I know he was disappointed not to start that game. The World Cup is not far away and he is inspired to show the French manager (Didier Deschamps) how good he is and I am sure he will have watched the Liverpool game and been very impressed.”
There is likely to be another option for the captaincy to face Sunderland, with Steven Taylor closing in on a return to full fitness.
The centre-back has not figured since his sending off on the opening weekend of the season at Manchester City because he has been suffering from hamstring trouble. It is hoped he can slot in to the back four to cover for the injured Coloccini and the suspended Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Former Newcastle defender – and a derby hero - Nikos Dabizas was back on Tyneside over the weekend to strengthen links with his current club. Dabizas is now the Panathinaikos sporting director and is believed to have had a meeting with his Tyneside counterpart Joe Kinnear.
Kinnear, who was on a scouting mission to watch Sunderland’s heavy defeat to Swansea City on Saturday, is keeping an eye on things in the hope of making one or two adjustments in the January transfer window.
One player on Newcastle’s list of potential targets is Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason and, as well as Sunderland, it has emerged West Ham United are also in the running for his signature.
The Icelandic 24-year-old scored 24 goals in 33 matches last season and has already grabbed 11 goals in eight league games this time around.
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