Along with Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan was paid off by Newcastle United a couple of months before his contract at last ended at St James Park.
The French winger was relatively successful in his first season at Newcastle, making 18 starts and five sub appearances as Newcastle finished fifth in the Premier League in 2011/12 – Obertan scoring a single league goal.
However, the next four years saw Gabriel Obertan only start a further 15 league matches, scoring a single additional Premier League goal in those last four years of his Newcastle contract.
It was well into August when free agent Obertan eventually found a club, signing up for Anzhi Makhachkala in the Russian league.
After a brief substitute appearance in a 2-0 home defeat to Spartak Moscow, Gabriel Obertan has started the last two league matches for Anzhi.
A 0-0 draw away at Orenburg and this Saturday just gone, a 1-0 away victory at FK Ural.
Interestingly, Newcastle’s former ineffectual winger appears to have reinvented himself. Obertan has made the quirky decision of taking the number 99 shirt for Anzhi, as well as something of a positional change.
In his two starts, Obertan has played as a centre forward, Anzhi playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with the one-time Newcastle man at the top end.
Indeed in his latest game yesterday (Saturday 17 Sept), Gabriel Obertan scored the only goal of the game with a very decent strike from the edge of the penalty box (watch the goal below).
One of the reasons put forward for Obertan’s failure at both Manchester United and Newcastle United, was that the player found it difficult to play in front of big crowds and the expectation that brought.
In that respect the winger turned centre forward might have also found his ideal surroundings, Anzhi winning in front of only 4,800 spectators on Saturday, whilst there were 5,012 there the previous weekend for the draw at Orenburg.
Watch Gabriel Obertan’s goal below – go to 28.19 if you want to go direct to his match winner.