YOHAN Cabaye was today due on Tyneside to complete a £4.8m switch to Newcastle United.
And the 25-year-old has been backed to bring a new dimension to the club’s midfield.
Cabaye was set to undergo a medical after flying in from Warsaw, where he won his fourth France cap in last night’s 1-0 win over Poland.
The midfielder told his Lille team-mates at the end of last season that he planned to join Newcastle.
However, Cabaye’s international involvement delayed completion of the deal, which was agreed last week.
Cabaye, an attack-minded player, has been likened to Kieron Dyer by former United defender Olivier Bernard, who is confident his countryman can thrive in the Premier League.
“I’ve seen him play a few times, and I think he’s almost the complete midfield player,” Bernard said.
“He’ll do a fantastic job. He’s a tidy player, and a very neat passer of the ball.
“He rarely loses the ball, and he’s great going forward. He’s a box to box player, similar to Kieron Dyer when he came to Newcastle. He’ll organise the side, and would be a very important player for Newcastle.”
Cabaye, is understood to have agreed a five-year deal at St James’s Park, and is likely to compete with captain Kevin Nolan for a place in Alan Pardew’s side.
And Bernard – who settled in Newcastle after a hip injury forced him to retire in his late 20s, after a second spell at Newcastle – feels he will prove an ideal foil for defensive midfielder Cheik Tiote.
“He’s nothing like Cheik,” added Bernard. “I think they would complement each other.
“Cheik’s very good defensively, but Cabaye plays more the Xavi role at the front of the midfield.
“He can switch the ball left to right. He’s a very clever player.
“I definitely think he will boss the midfield and get the attacks going, and with Ben Arfa in the team, things are looking good for Newcastle.”
Paris-born Bernard, left-back was part of the successful United side, guided by Sir Bobby Robson, which challenged for the Premier League title and competed in the Champions League.
Now 31, Bernard works for Show Racism The Red Card, an anti-racism charity.
Meanwhile, Fulham’s new manager Martin Jol was today linked with a move for Nolan, who last week rejected a new deal at Newcastle.
West Ham United, now managed by former United boss Sam Allardyce, this week had a £3m bid turned down for the 28-year-old.