In an exclusive interview given to L’Équipe, Crystal Palace’s new French international Yohan Cabaye explained the reasons behind his controversial switch from Ligue 1 Champions PSG to a mid-table Premier League side.
What are you feeling now that the deal is done?
Relief. Today is the 10th July and I could see days going by when I already really wanted to start with my new team. It was a long process. In the end, the most important thing is that I was able to sign and now I can project myself in a new team.
Did Alan Pardew have an impact on your decision to join Crystal Palace?
Yes, he played a very, very big part. I liked working with him at Newcastle and he wanted me too. I also felt like the owner of the club has an enormous desire to achieve something great with this club.
Your discussions with Didier Deschamps during the last international break, did they also play a part?
Yes. It was important for him and for me that I began to play matches regularly, and, at Crystal Palace, in the best league in the world, I had the opportunity to do just that.
Did the smallness of Crystal Palace and the lack of continental football not worry your international coach?
Honestly, no, in any case, he didn’t alert me either way. In England, there is not a single easy game. You can very easily beat a team in the top 4 and then the following weekend, you can lose against a side that is in a lower league position than you.
Did you have the opportunity to discuss your situation with Laurent Blanc?
No. (We spoke) two times. We spoke about how this was a step in my career and if it did not go as I wanted, it was because it wasn’t supposed to happen. But life goes on. I am discovering a new challenge now and I am leaving without anger. I sincerely hope that PSG achieve their aims, especially for the President (Al Khelaifi) who has put a lot of energy into this project, he was always excellent with me, from the first to the last day. He is a great man.
Do you leave PSG with regrets?
No, not at all. Obviously, I would have liked things to play out different and I tried everything to change the situation. But it is like that: in a career, there are high points and also some low points. Now, I am simply thinking about finding a lot of joy again and playing time. I hope to be part of the group for Euro 2016, that is my big aim. I want to show the coach that I am still here and I will work hard as a consequence. You should all count on me this season, I assure you that. I will do everything to find the rhythm that I had before I signed for PSG.
What were your best moments at PSG?
The four titles we won in one season. It is something out of this world and I participated in that campaign. That will stay with me. I also beefed up my amount of titles won, which was an aim of mine before I signed for PSG.
What are your aims with Crystal Palace?
There is a desire to create a solid team. As I said, the owner wants to do something good, to install this team into the top 8 in the Premier League. On top of that, if the opportunity presents itself, why not try to win a domestic cup? In any case, I really cannot wait to go again and to get a new taste of this extraordinary championship.