Will France’s World Cup Dream Make Or Break Newcastle United?
Tuesday night saw France cultivate an inspired turn around from a 2-0 deficit in Paris.
In a recent poll, 84% of French supporters believed the defeat in Ukraine was too big a mountain to climb but Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy dominated to help send France to Brazil next year.
In the short-term there can be no doubting this will give Newcastle’s French players a huge lift in morale and with 11 players currently on the books, this positivity will be widespread across the club.
There was a time, not too long ago, if you were to ply your trade for Newcastle you might as well have played in the North Pole in the eyes of the France national team manager. You only need to look at David Ginola and Laurent Robert to see they preferred players you could scout from a short journey on the Eurostar.
It can be argued that reputation preceded those players but times have changed and Newcastle’s recent jaunt into the French market has brought players who have maintained their national careers.
France’s qualification to Brazil 2014 might give players such as Yoan Gouffran and Yanga Mbiwa extra motivation to continue their recent impressive domestic form to push a way into the World Cup squad, a feat that is not too impossible considering France’s frailties in their qualification group.
It may also give Hatem Ben Arfa six months to give Didier Deschamps a selection conundrum. The french “Maverick” in the words of Alan Pardew has an opportunity to find a level of consistency which pressures Deschamps into recalling him into the squad, despite the French manager’s preconceived bias towards him.
Despite Cabaye and Debuchy shining in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory they will have to maintain their recent domestic form to guarantee a spot in France’s first eleven, with players such as Valbuena and Sagna breathing down their necks.
The other side of the coin is how it will affect Newcastle’s transfer activity in the transfer window. It can be argued it may lead to a more settled January window, with players looking to stay to continue a level of consistent game time before the World Cup.
If you take the example of Yohan Cabaye, he may feel a move to a team like Arsenal or Roma would prove frivolous as he will have to work his way into a settled first eleven, therefore risking being selected in Rio.
However, World Cup years have historically proven to be disruptive to a manager’s transfer activity, with players waiting to commit to a move until after the competition, in the hope that their sparkling form will attract a much more lucrative deal. Loic Remy potentially being a prime example, making it harder for Newcastle to tie the prolific goalscorer down to a permanent contract in the summer…never mind the winter window.
It also puts a large number of our players on the world’s radar. Alan Pardew might be hoping for a slightly understated performance from his French players this summer, if not Joe Kinnear may find his enormous 1980s style phone will not stop ringing.
Kinnear might be forced into a scouting mission in Brazil looking for Remy’s replacement and I have images of him with Pina Colada in hand, stuffed with novelty umbrellas, saying, “I like that big lad playing for up front for Nigeria…we should have a look at him.”
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