Last Saturday saw Newcastle United comprehensively beaten by Swansea City.
The two goal margin flattered the visitors as the Swans dominated from the first minute to the last, with only a handful of breaks upfield to show for United’s ‘effort’?
Newcastle have been linked with Florian Thauvin for pretty much the whole of his professional career; when he was at Bastia, then Lille and now Marseille.
In the last couple of months the claimed interest from Newcastle is the 22 year old winger has been constant.
So what changed and made Newcastle push the deal through?
Mike Ashley had already allowed more money to be spent than ever before this summer, with two (soon to be three) of those deals taking transfer fees higher than anything he’d previously allowed on any player in the previous eight years.
My belief is that he may well have looked at the wingers on the two teams and wondered just how on earth this had happened.
Swansea put four wingers on the pitch on Saturday and they are all better than anything Newcastle have got.
The home side started with man of the match Jefferson Montero on the left, the winger tormenting Daryl Janmaat until he got the red card, laying on the second goal and also hitting the post.
On the other side, Andre Ayew scored the second (two goals in two games after his first at Chelsea) and also played a full part in the win. For his goal, the former (5ft 9) Marseille man (who Newcastle were linked with for ages…) came in off from the right wing and outjumped our centre-back (who is also the Captain) to score with his head. Can you imagine any of our lot doing that????
Coming off the bench, both Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge also made it onto the pitch in the later stages. That is Nathan Dyer who usually gives our left-back (Dummett especially) a torrid time and Wayne Routledge, a player who has really thrived once he swapped Tyneside for South Wales.
What have we got?
The very fact that ANY Newcastle fan thinks there are ANY positives in Gabriel Obertan being on the pitch, must surely tell you everything.
How standards have not just dropped, they’ve fallen down the nearest disused mineshaft.
Some of you might still have a bit of bravado (not wanting to accept reality) and try and argue that Obertan is better than Routledge or one or more of the other three, but where is the evidence? In over four years of having to watch him, you would really struggle to need more than one hand to count the games where he has played anything like good.
When I say good, I don’t mean one or two runs in a match or a single goal/assist, I mean something approaching what both Montero and Ayew did on Saturday, or Dyer and Routledge (to a lesser extent) have also managed in recent seasons.
As for the rest…
Sammy Ameobi is now sitting on Cardiff’s bench and has yet to start a Championship match, despite the Welsh side now failing to win any of the three games – Ameobi getting only 35 minutes so far in two short appearances off the bench.
He is another one where I struggle to remember many (any?) games where he has put in a proper performance.
The departing Remy Cabella managed one goal and one assist in a whole season, will be best remembered for his daft haircut, even dafter unnecessary stepovers and fondness for social media.
As for Yoan Gouffran, surely if you needed any particular reason for thinking Pardew and Carver had to go, it was his almost unbroken presence in the team, truly hopeless.
Ironically, we are left wondering what will happen to Rolando Aarons (who I see as a separate case to those above as he has hardly had a chance), now that Florian Thauvin is due to pull on a black and white strip.
The one wide player who has been shown to have any idea and who has exhibited more ability in a handful of appearances than the other four above have managed in their joint Newcastle careers.
Maybe his absence so far from the team under Steve McClaren isn’t totally disconnected from the fact he has so far refused to sign a new contract, possibly even playing at least some small part in the decision to push the boat out on Florian Thauvin.
The optimist in me thinks about the possibility of Thauvin AND Aarons in the same team, either side of Mitrovic and Wijnaldum, four players who could all cause problems for the opposition.
A lot of pressure falls on Thauvin because of the lack of quality in recent seasons (Hatem Ben Arfa excepted on a going day), on the one hand he hasn’t much to beat, but at the same time he will also be expected to fill a massive void of quality/creativity that has been transparent to the vast majority of us for far too long.
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