Gabriel Obertan is not a name you will instantly come up with when you think of the best Newcastle United players this season, and probably after scratching your head for half and hour his name would still not spring to mind.
The Frenchman has struggled to make an impression in a struggling campaign this year which suggests his time at Newcastle is up and he could be axed to make way for someone else in the summer transfer window.
It hasn’t been easy because he’s had some very talented players to compete against for his place in the side such as Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux, not to mention Jonas Gutierrez.
Even when he has had a chance, he’s just not been able to have the sort of impact at the club, which he and Alan Pardew would have been hoping for.
His numbers this season don’t make for very pretty reading. He’s started just four games and has come off the bench on ten occasions. He’s laid on two assists and his only goals have come in the Europa League and the Under-21 side.
At 24-years-old he remains a very young man but in terms of the direction his career is taking, the time seems to have come for him to move on and find a new club where he can hit his peak and player regularly.
He has a very long contract at St James Park which is a result of the five-year deal when he originally signed from Manchester United.
Newcastle paid just £3 million for him and if they get any offers in which give them the smallest chance of making a tiny profit on that figure then they are very unlikely to stand in his way.
However, the biggest indicator that he’s had his last chance at the club is because he didn’t take his chance when he was used in the Premier League when Pardew bemoaned the size of his squad earlier in the season.
That was his opportunity to make himself one of the most popular players at Newcastle but he couldn’t step up and as a result the club went out, bought players from France and they seem to have overtaken him.
It’s a shame because he has great core skills and qualities for a young man of his age; his work ethic is good, he keeps his head down and you don’t hear much about him away from the pitch and training ground.
Newcastle need to tool up over the summer to inject some diversity into a predominantly French team and to give themselves a better chance of consolidating in the top half of the table next season.
Unfortunately for Obertan it looks as though he’s just going to get pushed further and further down the pecking order at St James Park until he’s either forced out or asks to leave personally.
Do you think Obertan has had his last chance?
image: © mickyb59