When football managers talk about bringing in someone new, what they actually want is a glorious reminder of the past.
As long as Newcastle United exists, and no matter who is in charge of the club, they will always be looking for the new Alan Shearer, Rob Lee or Peter Beardsley.
Good luck with that.
And we can now add the name of Yohan Cabaye to that list. Alan Pardew would love to find the new Yohan.
The hope is that Siem de Jong, in line to make his competitive debut at Villa Park today, and/or Remy Cabella will fulfil the role of playmaker, talisman and go-to guy in the team.
Neither are central midfielders like Cabaye, although the Frenchman did excel in the No10 role for which De Jong was bought in the summer.
However, the fact that Newcastle have two such talented players in the side will, Pardew hopes, make up for losing the club’s best talent since Shearer in January. The manager revealed something he said to Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley – that on the back of Cabaye leaving it was “important for new players to come in quickly.”
Cabella has settled in straight away. He, more than anyone, is the player who can become the team’s new star, for lack of a better word. This is something the manager can see happening.
Pardew said: “Cabella and Cabaye are different players.
“What Loic Remy did was to create great moments in a match and, obviously, Cabaye could do that so there’s a similarity there.
“You need a framework for those players and a platform to win games. Now we need the other side of it, the special quality that Cabaye gave us, that Demba Ba gave us, Remy as well.
“Cabella is very much a replacement for one of those three names.
“And we also have De Jong along with Emmanuel Riviere, Facundo Ferreyra, Rolando Aarons and Ayoze Perez who came on (against Manchester City) and had a nice cameo. They can make as much noise as Cabella and De Jong.”
Someone who didn’t merit a mention was Yoan Gouffran.
He started last Sunday, although he didn’t finish the game. His last goal actually came on Boxing Day, a drought his manager has attributed to Cabaye not being in the team.
His manager believes that the player who scored in four home games in a row in the first half of last season can return now he’s got a bit more help.
Pardew said: “Yoan had to play a lot of games because we didn’t have enough offensive options to change it and rest him. I think that was a factor.
“I think the psychological blow of Cabaye leaving and not being replaced was a blow to us all because we lost a great player, and that kind of pass he could produce was particularly important for Gouff. This year he hasn’t got that problem. De Jong is in the team, who can make that pass. Cabella has already proven he can make that pass, so we have got players who can now produce the sort of moments Cabaye did.
“At the back end of last year, all those factors were in Gouff’s dip of form. But what I do know about him is when he has got that high energy, when he plays with a full tank of fuel, he is a great player and a terrific character for this football club.”
Gouffran’s scored the winner at Villa Park last season when the Birmingham club were in a bit of a state. They still are, to an extent. Money is tight and Randy Lerner is desperate to sell up. However, the team has improved under their talented manager Paul Lambert and new assistant Roy Keane.
It’s a game Newcastle need to win if they want to show they are a top eight side. That is a lot easier said then done. Newcastle have lost each of their last five Premier League away games.
Pardew said: “We face a Villa side that has just got an away win and in the Premier League that is gold-dust, so they will be feeling fairly confident to turn us over at home and we have to make sure that we are a really stiff opposition. They have got some good players – they still carry some great players and it will be a difficult game.
“I thought Christian Benteke was an outstanding young player and Paul will be delighted to have him back on the training ground. It’s difficult to lose a player like that when he’s on a hot streak but we never came that close to signing him.”
Mehdi Abeid will be staying at the club after all, having been given what was probably a final chance to impress following his season loan at Panathinaikos.
Pardew said: “I’ve been impressed with him in his pre-season work. I think he will be battling for a place all year.
“He hasn’t started as you know but he’s very much in my thoughts. It was a season where he did absolutely terrifically on loan. There are still question marks, but he’s a lot closer to the group.”