Yoan Gouffran is maybe one of the strangest cases at Newcastle United, amongst a cast of many.
You get players whose form fluctuates, or even disappears completely, but rarely do you get any whose effort and desire seems to evaporate overnight.
It is hard (impossible?) to believe that the Yoan Gouffran we see today, is the individual who was at one time the player who the fans admired for his non-stop running and effort.
These days, when his name is even mentioned as a possible starter, you just know that thousands of Newcastle fans are instantly shaking their heads and silently mouthing ‘please no’.
At times he can look ‘busy’ but I think if you watch him properly then you know that he is just going through the motions, doing the bare minimum and taking no responsibility whatsoever in trying to pressurise or create anything.
The statistics are quite telling as well, so it is something that can be measured up to a point.
Arriving in January 2013, in less than a year Yoan Gouffran scored nine goals, the last of those on 26 December 2013.
In the two years since, he has scored two and they both had big elements of luck, the Southampton keeper kicking the ball off him for one, while a big deflection helped him beat the Hull keeper at the end of January for what would appear to be his last ever Premier League goal.
When it comes to goals and assists over the four seasons he has been here, this is the breakdown:
2012/13 – 5 (3 goals 2 assists)
2013/14 – 9 (6 goals 3 assists)
2014/15 – 3 (2 goals 1 assist)
2015/16 – 0 (0 goals 0 assists)
In that first half season he only started 14 matches (plus 1 as sub) yet helped score/create 5 goals.
Comparing his first two seasons with the last two (basically two times one and a half seasons), Gouffran made 50 Premier League appearances and was involved in 14 goals (9 scored and 5 assists), then in the last two he has made 33 Premier League appearances and been involved in 3 goals (2 scored and 1 assist).
In that first calendar year when he scored 9 goals, the final one was against Stoke City on Boxing Day 2013 and within a month the influential Yohan Cabaye was sold.
It is difficult not to think that the sale of Yohan Cabaye was an even bigger factor than anything we could blame Pardew for, though we can blame him for not making an all or nothing stand when it came to demanding Mike Ashley replaced his playmaker.
You can’t have much/any sympathy for football players not putting in the effort but I think that the loss of Yohan Cabaye is still being felt today, with last Saturday a timely reminder of just how feeble our central midfield is these days, especially when up against players such as…Yohan Cabaye.
I would also be the last person to defend Moussa Sissoko but along with Gouffran and no doubt a number of others, you can definitely trace back the rapid decline in form (and effort) for Newcastle back, to that January departure of Yohan Cabaye.
His sale and the refusal by Ashley to allow money to be spent on replacing him, was seemingly the move that broke the team and any hope that this group of players as a whole, was going to be of any real use to Newcastle United.
Following rumours of interest in the next transfer window, Yoan Gouffran has now said himself that he might leave in January if he doesn’t get a game.
Let’s hope that anybody who is interested will overlook the last two years and maybe the club should get some footage knocked up ASAP of Yoan Gouffran’s ‘golden year’ to circulate, while they are about it they can do the same for Moussa Sissoko…
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