After signing him for a reported £15m, Newcastle were over the moon with Florian Thauvin’s arrival at St James’ Park in the summer of 2015.
Then Magpies boss Steve McClaren waxed lyrical about his new recruit, saying: “He is a perfect signing for this club – someone who is young, with great potential and is one of the best young players in Europe. He is an exciting, creative talent who can score goals and make assists, and we believe he will have a very bright future at Newcastle.”
Sadly for the Tyneside club, things didn’t quite pan out that way for Thauvin. The Frenchman struggled to adjust to life in English football, and in the end, made just 16 appearances for the club in his one lone season at St James’ Park.
Arguably his most iconic moment at Newcastle came when he turned up at the stadium in a tuxedo before the Magpies’ Premier League clash against West Ham – something club legend Alan Shearer didn’t take to kindly.
He slammed: “He turns up in a tux. This is a serious business we’re in here, it was funny on the first day of the season, it’s not funny any more. When Newcastle walked out they didn’t look focus or prepared, that was for the warm-up.
“Look at Nyom run past Thauvin. You might be able to do that in the French League, you can’t do that in the Premier League. You have got to track back.”
The 27-year-old would then re-join Marseille on a loan deal, before making that move permanent for a fee in the region of £9m. Thauvin has since shown the world that McClaren was absolutely right in seeing the potential in him all those years ago.
Now valued at £28.8m, the versatile winger has scored at least 15 league goals in every Ligue 1 season for the past three years, including a truly spectacular haul of 22 goals and 11 assists in the 2018/2019 campaign.
Whilst it’s difficult to blame Newcastle or Thauvin for why things failed to work out at St James’ Park – sometimes transfers can just be unpredictable – there’s no questioning that the France international has thrived.
And in other news, Newcastle must surely also regret selling this proven goal-scorer.