Sky Sports have run an interesting piece, which identifies three attacking players from overseas who would be perfect targets for the best Premier League clubs this summer.
Julian Draxler of PSG and Germany is one, along with Isco, of Real Madrid and Spain.
The third on the list if Florian Thauvin of Marseille and France, formerly of Newcastle United and Tyneside.
Plenty of signings have failed at Newcastle United, bought from home and abroad.
However, the Florian Thauvin one, was almost certainly doomed from the start.
Newcastle were only saved on the last day of 2014/15 from relegation and the ridiculous response from the failed Mike Ashley/Graham Carr transfer model, was to buy four young players from weaker foreign leagues and put the responsibility on them to turn things around.
Two 20 year olds (Mitrovic and Mbemba) arrived, as well as 24 year old Gini Wijnaldum and 22 year old Florian Thauvin.
Thauvin didn’t really want to leave Marseille but they were in such a desperate state financially at the time, he felt he had no choice but to move.
Arriving at Newcastle after the season had started, Florian Thauvin was stupidly thrown straight into the team despite having no pre-season with NUFC, and like so many past foreign signings was on a bit of a hiding to nothing.
Under Steve McClaren the team predictably struggled and after only three Premier League starts, Thauvin became a scapegoat and was dropped and never given another PL start after 19 September 2015. A young promising player arriving from abroad couldn’t have been handled any worse.
After an initial loan back to Marseille, Newcastle eventually banked around £9m back of the £14m they had originally laid out.
The last two seasons have seen stunning returns from the winger.
Marseille are third now and hot favourites for Champions League football, with Florian Thauvin the prime mover.
No wonder he is now rated in the £40m+ bracket (Mike Ashley will be gutted…!).
This season he has been involved in 26 goals (scoring 16, 10 assists) in 28 Ligue 1 matches, with 15 goals and 8 assists last season.
That makes a total over the last two seasons of 64 Ligue 1 starts and involved in 49 goals (scoring 31 and 18 assists).
Maybe Mike Ashley will give Rafa Benitez the £40m+ to buy Thauvin back this summer…
‘We asked our friends at Football Whispers to identify three attacking players expected to be on the move this summer and the shortlist was impressive: Isco, Julian Draxler and Florian Thauvin.
Football Whispers used their Player Persona model, which identifies the stars’ key in-game characteristics, to assess what each player would bring to the Premier League, as well as their Transfer Value and Transfer Index algorithms to look into the likelihood of a switch to England’s top flight.’
Florian Thauvin (Marseille and France)
‘Newcastle United fans would be forgiven for doing a double take after reading Florian Thauvin’s name. The winger endured a dismal six months on Tyneside, in which he made just five starts, before returning to Marseille.
But two years on and Thauvin is one of Ligue 1’s biggest stars and the driving force behind OM’s push for a Champions League spot – he’s scored an impressive 18 goals and registered 15 assists this term.
The Player Performance model has Thauvin at 86 and his displays have also seen his Transfer Value rise sharply over the course of the campaign, up to £40m. Not bad for a Newcastle flop.
The 25-year-old’s characteristics in Football Whispers’ Player Persona highlight his productivity in the final third. He isn’t afraid to take risks in possession and averages 3.67 successful dribbles per 90, but he also lays on chances for his teammates – playing 1.93 key passes per 90 – and isn’t afraid to shoot when in the right areas, with 3.64 shots per 90.
Impressively his expected goals contribution for the Ligue 1 campaign is 0.93 per 90. For a player that has played more than 2,000 minutes in the league this term, it is a staggering output.
The big issue for any Premier League side would be luring Thauvin back to England. He is completely at ease in Marseille and is on the cusp of taking the club back into the Champions League.’