Newcastle Dream Sold To Two French Players Has Become A Nightmare
The Newcastle dream sold to our French recruits is now becoming a nightmare for a couple of them and I’m not talking about wasters like Marveaux, or the likes of Amalfitano who was clearly totally out of his depth and not surprisingly sent back to Ligue 2 in his home country.
The two players who must be wondering just what they’ve walked into at St.James’ Park, are Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara.
They were two to of five players to arrive in January 2013 and are currently in no-man’s land.
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Both Gouffran and Sissoko have proved a success, at least in terms of value for money with low transfer fees. While for much of the season, Mathieu Debuchy has arguably been Newcastle’s best player – though he started poorly and has shown disturbing signs again recently of his form drifting.
However, it is the two French defenders who arrived in the same bargain bundle who must be wondering what has hit them.
Mapou had captained Montpellier to the French Title in 2011/12 at only 22 years of age and was much sought after. Especially having made his breakthrough into the national team, playing three times for France in the months leading up to joining Newcastle, including playing full games in two World Cup qualifiers just over three months before joining Newcastle.
Massadio Haidara had made it over forty matches in France’s top division before he was 20 years old and signed for Newcastle, making his Under 21 debut for France, again only a few months before arriving on Tyneside.
For both players they have come to a standstill in their careers and while Haidara has had more than his share of injury problems he must still be left scratching his head as to what he’s done wrong.
Both players have been ignored at international level and Mapou in particular, must have thought when he arrived at Newcastle that a year and half into his stay he’d be getting on a plane to Brazil if his country qualified. Well his country have qualified but the central defender is about as close as Amalfitano and Marveaux are to being selected for the World’s biggest football event.
Mapou is now fourth choice behind Coloccini, Williamson and Taylor, the French international and 22 year old captain of the French Title winners totally frozen out. While it may have been a no-brainer for the fans that Colo got the recall on Sunday, the fact Pardew admitted afterwards he should never have played him as he was nowhere near fit…what message does that send out to the likes of Mapou.
As for Haidara, Santon’s form has dipped alarmingly and yet the French full-back sees himself behind not only the Italian, but also local lad Paul Dummett.
Now we all want local lads to do well and Dummett looks wholehearted etc etc but Haidara does look the real deal and I can only see it as a political choice (backing up an image of a successful academy) to leave Haidara out in favour of the Geordie.
When I look to our options for next season, I can’t imagine Ashley paying the money necessary to rebuild the squad properly and so surely we have to make the best of the quality that is already here at St.James’ Park.
With nothing much to play for, it surely makes sense to give both Mapou and Haidara extended runs in the team to see if they can prove that the pedigree they came with, can be up to Premier League standard.
Otherwise I see only two really bad options.
Firstly, the two of them leave on the cheap or on loan.
Secondly, they stay at the club but get hardly any pitch time in the remaining matches. Then limited investment in the summer and the pair of them thrown in at the start of the season, or when things begin falling apart they are thrown into a desperate situation.
They need games now, not when our backs are against the wall.
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