Marseille winger Florian Thauvin is the latest big name French star to arrive at St. James’ Park. The Toon Army have landed a player they have courted for a while now, with flop Remy Cabella heading in the opposite direction. Though it is nice to see Newcastle continue to spend money on improving their squad, the move for the French international could be a mistake.
Thauvin has disappointed during his spell at the Stade De Velodrome, after being extensively linked with a move to England last summer. Though compatriot Remy Cabella did not enjoy the most productive of debut seasons in England – the Frenchman is an established international. He has also won Ligue 1 during his career, and arguably should be given another crack of the whip in this new regime.
The Marseille man has flattered to deceive since moving to the club from Bastia. The 22-year old is without doubt an exciting runner with the ball, but over the past few seasons, has done little else. Reports in the French media suggest Marseille are in fact getting the better deal in the transaction, which is saying a lot when you consider Cabella’s form last year.
Steve McClaren’s side need an end product this year, and Thauvin does not always guarantee that. 5 goals last year on the right of Marcelo Biesla’s attacking midfield does not spark excitement on Tyneside. Comparisons to former Toon star Hatem Ben Arfa have been rife throughout his career, and the North East side simply can’t afford a similar fiasco.
In the opening two games of the season, Newcastle have looked a little brittle. Though clearly there has been improvement, the spine of the side still leaves fans wanting. Spending a reported £12m on a mercurial left winger when the defence is crying out for surgery seems a little odd.
New signing Chancel Mbemba looks like a great fit at the heart of the Magpies defence, but the aging Fabricio Coloccini and company do not look like worthy partners. With Massimo Haidara looking completely out of his depth at left-back, McClaren would be wise to put his funds towards the back-line.
Perhaps Thauvin will click and we will see the exciting young talent that earned his big move from Bastia. However, the early excitement of a new era dawning for the Geordies appears to be slowly dying, and will continue to do so, until the defence is fixed.
Though Hatem Ben Arfa was a fan favourite, the North East side cannot afford another episode like it. Former England boss McClaren is under pressure to get his side playing – and winning – and spending big money on an inconsistent winger may not be his wisest move.