Whilst Newcastle are in 13th place in the Premier League table and are in the sixth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006, there has been one glaring problem under Steve Bruce.
The Magpies just can’t seem to score goals. They have hit the back of the net on just 25 occasions so far this term, which is the joint-lowest in the whole division. Joelinton, their record signing, has just one goal in the top flight, whilst their top goalscorer in the league is midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who has five.
If only they had a player like, say, Marseille’s Florian Thauvin. The Frenchman was actually on the books of the Toon from 2015 to 2017, but failed to make any real impact.
Now, he is one of the stars of Ligue 1.
Let’s see how he is getting on…
He did relatively well there in two seasons, scoring 15 goals and providing 13 assists in 79 matches, but it was by no means extraordinary. Still, the North East club were still persuaded to pay £12m for his services.
His time at St. James’ Park was a disaster.
He played just 16 matches, scoring one and providing two assists, with him most remembered for wearing a tuxedo on this way to a home match.
Just six months later, he was loaned back to Marseille, and he would never play for Newcastle again.
Back in France, he hardly set the world alight in the second half of the 15/16 campaign, managing just two goals in 22 matches. However, that was to prove to be just a blip before a stunning run of form that would last three years.
In the 2016/17 campaign, he played in every single Ligue 1 match for Marseille, scoring 15 goals and providing 10 assists – he also managed two assists in five matches in the cup competitions as well. Somehow, the Toon only picked up £9.5m from his permanent sale to the Velodrome outfit in the summer of 2017, and they were likely kicking themselves afterwards when they saw how he was performing.
The next season, as Marseille made the Europa League final, the prolific attacker was at his brightest. He scored three and provided two in 12 games in that competition, but it was his Ligue 1 form that most caught the eye. From the wing, he scored 22 goals and provided 11 assists, earning himself a nomination for the league’s Player of the Year award in the process.
Last term, too, he was impressive, scoring 16 and providing eight assists in 33 games, whilst also scoring twice and creating one in three European fixtures.
This season, he has been suffering from arthroscopie and has therefore played just twice, but he has already rubbed salt into Newcastle’s wound.
Now worth £36m as per Transfermarkt and with 91 goal contributions in his last 158 games, the damage is already done.