Yohan Cabaye lifts the lid on his failed move to Arsenal in 2013, the reasons he went on strike at Newcastle and Alan Pardew's FA Cup final dancing

Yohan Cabaye celebrates scoring for Newcastle United
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yohan Cabaye has explained the finer details surrounding his unsuccessful transfer to Arsenal in 2013, revealing he went on strike due to failed promises made by Newcastle United

Playing at the top of his game for Newcastle after his first two seasons in English football, Arsenal attempted to prise him away from St. James' Park with a £10 million bid in August 2013. 

The offer came on the eve of Newcastle's Premier League season opener against Manchester City, though, turning Cabaye's head and causing manager Alan Pardew to leave him out of the matchday squad. 

Pardew commented the approach was disrespectful in both value and timing, with Cabaye later revealing to FourFourTwo the extent of the interest. 

"It was quite close," Cabaye told FFT. "Arsenal put a bid on the table. 

"The deal [when I signed for Newcastle] was, ‘OK, you come and we’ll see how you adapt. The English market can be quick, and if there’s something, we’ll sit and have a chat’. So, OK, that’s fine. It was the first time I was leaving a club, moving from Lille to Newcastle, so I didn’t know about transfers. 

"The fact is, the first season was really good and after that there was Euro 2012, of course, which went well for me. Then there was Arsenal’s interest, and what I didn’t understand was that the club closed the door on it – they didn’t want to have a discussion."

Clearly, this upset Cabaye based on the club's previous promise. All the Frenchman wanted was for Newcastle to at least enter into conversation with Arsenal to ascertain the nature of the interest. 

"I asked why, and the answer failed to convince me. I asked them to speak [with Arsenal] and try to come up with a better solution – if there’s no solution, I can understand that, and I’m happy at Newcastle. 

"But I wanted to play for a club with that standard, with all due respect to Newcastle. In the end, they didn’t want to, and that’s life. That was their choice."

As a result, Cabaye went on strike at Newcastle, missing the next game against West Ham in order to force through a move to the Emirates. While he admits he could have handled the situation in a better manner, he also highlights his performances upon his return were back to their previous best. 

"I felt that someone lied to me. It [going on strike] was a way to express my disagreement – but today, of course, I can say that it wasn’t the right way. After that, I think I showed to everyone that I was fully committed to Newcastle, 100 per cent, and there weren’t any problems at all."

Eventually, Cabaye got his move, though not to Arsenal. Instead, he returned to France to play for PSG. He won two Ligue 1 titles, the French League Cup twice and the Coup de France there, before returning to the Premier League in 2015, this time with Crystal Palace. 

Linking up with his former boss Alan Pardew in south London, Cabaye helped Palace reach the 2016 FA Cup final. The game has since become synonymous for Alan Pardew's touchline dance after Jason Puncheon scored the opening goal against Manchester United in the 78th minute - but the dancing ultimately proved premature as Juan Mata equalised and Jesse Lingard scored the winner in extra-time. 

Cabaye was on the bench at the time Puncheon scored, and reveals his feelings on what happened in a positive manner. 

"I saw it," he admits. And I loved it!

"Pardew’s a very good human being. Alan always behaved in the right way towards me; even when he wanted to say that I needed to change or improve something, he did it in the right way. He helped me a lot with my adaptation in England. He taught me how to develop, how to adapt, and he was really important for me. He still is."

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.