Cabaye had cemented himself as a key player at St James’ Park after arriving from Lille in 2011.
Often utilised as a withdrawn number 10, the French international grew into the role with the Magpies, acting as both creator and goalscorer with incredible adeptness. He scored 17 times in 79 games on Tyneside, and it was his form with the North Eastern club that saw Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain sign the attacking midfielder for an estimated fee of £19 million.
However, he has failed to settle well in the French capital, and Cabaye is reportedly on the market for the January transfer window, potentially ending his stay in France less than one-year after arriving.
It was Cabaye’s absence that started the downturn endured by the Toon in 2014, a downturn that has only ended in the last few weeks with four consecutive Premier League victories. There was no one in the Newcastle squad to fill the void left by the 28-year-old, and Pardew’s desire to remain true to his withdrawn number 10 system - a system used since his management days with Reading - could have cost the coach his job.
Luuk de Jong and Moussa Sissoko were used with little effect in the number 10 position - with the former nominally a striker and the latter a wide midfielder - and Pardew told the Standard that he often utilises his favoured formation with an out-of-position player in the hole.
“Sometimes I play that system with a striker, sometimes with a midfielder,” the 53-year-old coach said. “Last year Cabaye had massive success in the first half of the season.”
Sissoko has been excellent in the past few weeks, and his influence in the role formerly filled by Cabaye shows promise. Pardew has kept the same formation, but is playing to the strengths of the 25-year-old, and he looks to be the perfect fit in the new-look Magpies side.
Pardew added: “Moussa Sissoko has grown comfortable in that role and he’s probably one of the big reasons why we have picked up.
“He is not a Cabaye. He’s got a different role. Cabaye was the intelligence of the team, Moussa is like the battering ram.
“He’ll make a run that blows the back four apart. The goal he scored against Manchester City Cabaye wouldn’t have got.”
Sissoko’s strength and pace make him less of a playmaker than Cabaye, but he can arguably have a bigger impact from the number 10 role, as his direct running through the middle creates space for Rolando Aarons and Sammy Ameobi, who have been running the flanks in the last few weeks. Whilst many Toon fans would be pleased to see Cabaye return to St James’ Park in January, there is a good chance that his arrival could hinder the current Newcastle side, rather than help them in the manner desired of the Frenchman.