PARIS (AFP) - New signing Yohan Cabaye says he is prepared to be thrown straight into the Paris Saint-Germain side when the Ligue 1 leaders host Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes on Friday evening.
The 28-year-old France midfielder completed his transfer from Newcastle United on Wednesday, penning a three-and-a-half-year deal in the capital for a fee which is reported to be worth 23 million euros (S$40 million) including bonuses.
Cabaye, who made his name with Lille and played under PSG coach Laurent Blanc in the French national side, faces fierce competition for places in the Paris line-up, with Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta considered the first-choice trio in a 4-3-3 system.
However, there could be an early opportunity for him to impress against Les Girondins with young Italian playmaker Verratti suspended and Adrien Rabiot, another option for Blanc, struggling with a knee problem.
"I am in a hurry to make my debut and represent my new club. I feel fit and I hope to be in the squad and to participate," Cabaye said at his unveiling at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening.
He also admitted that he had heard of the supposed scepticism about his signing from star players Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, but there can be little doubt that PSG's rivals would love to be able to call on a player of his quality.
The reigning champions sit three points clear at the top of the table and have a trip to second-placed Monaco to come next weekend.
It is therefore crucial for them to get back to winning ways against Bordeaux after a 2-1 home defeat by Montpellier in the French Cup and a 1-1 draw at Guingamp in their last two outings.
Blanc still has concerns surrounding the fitness of Ezequiel Lavezzi and captain Silva, while Bordeaux strike duo Cheick Diabate and Guillaume Hoarau are struggling for fitness just now, as is playmaker Ludovic Obraniak.
Francis Gillot's side have already lost three times to PSG this season, but they did beat Saint-Etienne 2-0 last weekend and a surprise victory here could see them go fourth.
"There is no magic formula," said ex-PSG striker Hoarau when asked what was needed to beat the league leaders.
"You need a little bit of everything. We can't afford to let them play their game. People say they are not at their best just now - I'm not sure we can use that term but we need to hope that they perhaps don't play at 100 per cent."
Monaco may be without the injured Radamel Falcao for the rest of the season but they did not miss the Colombian in last weekend's 2-0 win against Marseille and will hope to make it eight victories in 10 league games when they visit Lorient on Saturday.
Lorient themselves have lost just once in 10 in the league, though, and are usually a tough proposition on their artificial pitch in Brittany.
Third-placed Lille go to Nice on Sunday looking to halt a sequence of four league games without a win in a match that could see talented right-back Sebastien Corchia make his debut following his move from Sochaux.
"I had other opportunities but I preferred to come to Lille because the coach (Rene Girard) phoned me personally. They are an ambitious club who will help me progress," said Corchia, who has in the past been linked with Bayern Munich and Juventus.
Another club who have been busy in the January transfer window are Rennes, who could have new recruits Paul-Georges Ntep, Ola Toivonen and Kamil Grosicki in their side when they entertain Lyon on Sunday.
Lyon, inspired by former Rennes playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, are aiming to extend a run of 12 matches without defeat in Brittany.
Fourth-placed Saint-Etienne entertain Valenciennes on Saturday while Marseille, in fifth, are at home to Toulouse on Sunday.
Viewers in Singapore can catch Paris Saint-Germain v Bordeaux on Saturday on mio TV Ch111 at 3.20am and Lorient v Monaco on mio TV Ch112 at 11.20pm.