There were claims over the weekend that Newcastle United are going to move away from targeting France for new signings.
No great surprise there after the number of rubbish players that Mike Ashley and Graham Carr have recruited from Ligue 1 (and below).
It is old news anyway as Newcastle United have, maybe surprisingly, brought in very few players from France in recent times.
Of the last 20 first team squad/team players signed by United, only four were brought in from France and only three of those were actually French.
Henri Saivet is Senegalese, so the only three first team level French players bought (as well as Loic Remy on loan who was recruited from an English club…) by Newcastle in the last three and a half years (since January 2013) are Remy Cabella, Florian Thauvin and Emmanuel Riviere.
Maybe even more of a surprise is that it is from England where Newcastle have bought most players in these past three and a half years.
So purely in terms of nationality, this is the split of those last 20 signings:
England (6): Shelvey, Toney, Lascelles, Darlow, Colback, Townsend.
Holland (4): Luuk de Jong, Siem de Jong, Janmaat, Wijnaldum.
France (4): Remy, Riviere, Cabella, Thauvin
Ivory Coast: Doumbia
DR Congo: Mbemba.
The problem of course with Newcastle’s record of signing players isn’t the nationality of the player of which league were playing in, it is the stupid idea that every player should be bought in the hope they will improve and be worth more money in the future.
What this equates to is that every single transfer is a sizeable gamble.
Yes any player can end up becoming a flop for whatever reason but if a player has performed at a certain level for some time and a decent CV, then every chance they can repeat that at their next club.
Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy were all well known players and established internationals for France, before they landed at Newcastle, so little wonder they did well and two of them were sold for a massive profit and the other one proved too elusive to keep.
This past season, if Newcastle had bought in players such as Andre Ayew and Dimitri Payet, or exceptional young Frenchman N’Golo Kante, then we wouldn’t have ended up getting relegated.
Bringing in players of a high enough standard AND suited to the demands of the Premier League, is what it is all about.
Ashley and Carr repeated the Cabella mistake with an even worse one in Thauvin, on both occasions they could have landed Payet for less money.
Newcastle fans are amazingly relaxed despite relegation, with a big part of that due to the fact that Rafa Benitez has seized control of transfers instead of the proven failed personnel and system that existed before.
It doesn’t mean every signing will be a success but it does mean that every signing will be made for the best of reasons and given every chance of success – that is all we have ever asked for.