Newcastle-linked Florian Thauvin could prove an upgrade but Magpies must be cautious

Florian Thauvin

Newcastle United are reported to be eyeing up a move for Marseille's Florian Thauvin.

Following the arrival of PSV Eindhoven's Georginio Wijnaldum and Anderlecht's Aleksandar Mitrovic, as well as the expected signing of the latter's former team-mate Chancel Mbemba, Steve McClaren has made acquiring another midfielder his priority for the remainder of the summer window, suggest the Newcastle Chronicle

Indeed, reports - such as those in the Daily Star - claim that the former England manager is hoping to secure a move for Marseille playmaker Florian Thauvin, who has become unsettled in France after a spate of high-profile exits throughout the summer window. The Toon are known to be long-term admirers of the 22-year-old and have remained in dialogue over the possibility of a deal. 

Amid speculation linking Thauvin with a move to St. James' Park, HITC Sport have analysed the statistics to see if he would represent a first-team upgrade for McClaren's side. When comparing him to his most likely competition - Newcastle's Remy Cabella - it seems clear the areas in which he would offer an improvement. 

Thauvin completed an average of 18.08 successful passes per game in League 1 last season, compared to 23.58 from Cabella in the Premier League. Furthermore, the Newcastle midfielder excelled for pass completion, with 83% to the 77% managed by his compatriot.

Nonetheless, despite his inferiority in the aforementioned key area, Thauvin emerged superior creatively last term. Not only was he able to fashion more chances for his team-mates per game (1.47 to 1.19), he also played more key passes (1.36 to 1.13) and recorded double the number of assists (two to four). 

Cabella also lacked goals, and this is another area in which he is bettered by Thauvin, who hit the target from 34% of his attempts last term. Indeed, despite averaging a better shot accuracy (46%) that his compatriot, the Newcastle midfielder scored just a single goal all season, four fewer than Thauvin managed for Marseille. 

However, the Ligue 1 midfielder cannot compete with Caballa in terms of his ability to carry the ball, having averaged fewer take ons per appearance (2.39 to 2.28), as well as an inferior success rate (47% to 64%). Meanwhile, it is impossible to split the duo when it comes to their defensive efforts, with both recording a 43% tackle success rate.

Thauvin appears to tick all of the right boxes from a Newcastle perspective - he is creative and scores goals - however, it is easy to forget that Cabella joined Newcastle from Montpellier as one of the stand-out performers in France the season before, having scored on 14 occasions, while weighing in with a further five assists.

This is definitely a deal for the Magpies to approach with an air of caution, especially when considering the temperamental side to Thauvin's personality. McClaren may well find there are better options available for Newcastle this summer, based on both the Frenchman's ability and mentality. 

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