When it comes to Newcastle United messing it up when making big money signings from abroad, Florian Thauvin must come pretty close to the top.
With a desperate financial position at the time, Marseille were forced to sell the winger to Newcastle in August 2015 as the £14m was needed to keep the wolves from the door.
It was yet another classic NUFC ‘how to get things wrong’ episode, a clueless Manager (this time Steve McClaren) with a player coming from a weaker league thrown straight into a poor team that quickly looked like relegation contenders.
Only three Premier League starts later, Florian Thauvin was made a convenient scapegoat and never given another start, no wonder our club lurches from one disaster to another.
Last summer Rafa Benitez was faced with a hopeless task, Thauvin had gone back to his previous club Marseille in the January on loan and was clearly desperate to stay there.
A deal was worked out for another season’s loan as Marseille didn’t have the money to buy him then, so now with a contract clause triggered, Florian Thauvin will make a permanent move this summer to the Ligue 1 club, with Newcastle making around a £5m loss on the transfer fee, millions in wasted wages for no return, plus as well the biggest cost of all.
A relegation that you can’t put a figure on – which a ridiculous transfer policy caused – thinking you can cheat the system by buying young (Mbemba and Mitro were both 20 years old when signing, Tauvin 22) inexperienced players from weaker leagues and thinking they could instantly turn around a team/squad that only survived a relegation campaign on the last day of the previous season.
On the back of his excellent form, Thauvin is now in the French squad for the first time and has just picked up the March player of the season award from Marseille fans.
A massive 48% voted for him, with next best a distant Morgan Sanson and Remy Cabella, who each got 11% of the vote.
In his four matches in March, Florian Thauvin scored three goals and also contributed three assists.
This makes it a remarkable five Marseille player of the month awards this season out of only eight.
August 2016: Florian Thauvin
September 2016: Florian Thauvin
October 2016: Florian Thauvin
November 2016: Maxime Lopez
December 2016: Florian Thauvin
January 2017: Rémy Cabella
February 2017: Morgan Sanson
March 2017: Florian Thauvin