Emmaunel Riviere is perhaps the player who more than most, underlines the disaster that was the failed Mike Ashley/Graham Carr transfer strategy.
Some 46 signings were made using the Carr/Ashley model before Rafa Benitez arrived, trying to cheat the system by always looking (almost always abroad) for players under a certain age who would/could increase in value.
Rather than buying for the here and now, massive gambles were taken with the club, which led to a number of close shaves with relegation before Ashley managed a second one only seven years after the previous one under his ownership.
Emmanuel Riviere was signed in summer 2014 as Newcastle were desperate for a striker, Loic Remy had scored the goals to keep Newcastle safe the previous season when on loan, but the club desperately needed a quality forward to make sure they’d have a decent 2014/15.
After refusing to pay the price tag on some promising strikers, including a then 23 year old Alexandre Lacazette, Newcastle somehow thought Emmanuel Riviere was the answer.
Only once in his career had the striker managed double figures in a league season and that was only 10 for Monaco in 2013/14.
In the three years since Newcastle paid £6m for Riviere, he has scored one league goal, and that was a total fluke as he hit the ball off his other boot to confuse the QPR keeper (in the three years since Newcastle signed Riviere, Lacazette has scored 91 goals for Lyon in all competitions, and being called up by France, before Asrenal paid around £46m for him this summer).
Newcastle only surviving on the last day of the 2014/15 season thanks to Jonas Gutierrez inspiring the team to a 2-0 win over West Ham on the final day.
After a 2015/16 season of few Newcastle United appearances and fewer goals (none), Emmanuel Riviere found himself on loan to Osasuna last (2016/17) season.
The club were relegated from La Liga with only 22 points and Emmanuel Riviere didn’t manage to score a single goal.
Now 27, there has been double good news on the Newcastle player if reports from France are true.
L’equipe report that Metz are interested in taking the forward back home to Ligue 1, the club were sixth lowest goalscorers in the French league.
Failing that, the French newspaper, and others, are saying that Riviere only has one year left on his contract.
When signed, Newcastle only stated that it was a ‘long-term contract’, but there was widespread coverage claiming that it was a massive six year deal Newcastle had given him, taking Emmanuel Riviere up to 2020.
So even if this Metz claim turns out to be a dead end, hopefully at the very most Riviere has only another 12 months left on the books of Newcastle United, with reports that it was ‘only’ a four year deal at Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez desperately needs to clear out so many of the poor signings made before his arrival (and one or two of his own…), in order to both create space in the squad for new players and create a bigger budget to buy them.