Five things Newcastle United fans may not know about Florian Thauvin

St James Park

The Magpies have been linked with a big money move for the Marseille attacker – so what should the Toon Army know about their latest reported target?

Newcastle United’s love affair with creative French stars looks set to continue with the potential acquisition of Marseille attacker Florian Thauvin.

According to the Mirror, the Toon are closing in on a deal to sign the France international in an agreement that could see winger Remy Cabella move in the opposition direction.

Another major purchase for the Magpies, the 22-year-old winger would arrive at St James’ Park with something of a reputation.

Here are five things Newcastle United fans may not know about Thauvin.

1. He’s drawn comparisons with a current French great

Though in may be in vogue to describe any bright young thing within the world of football as the next Lionel Messi, they do things a little different in France.

So when it came for Toulouse manager Alain Casanova talk about Thauvin’s talents, he described him, according to the Guardian, as:

"A player in the image of Franck Ribéry … someone who is able to disrupt any opponent, someone very dangerous when he picks up speed. Very dangerous indeed."

High praise indeed, Alain. 

2. He’s got a history of being a bit of a troublemaker

Back in his younger days, Thauvin was brought to Lille from Bastia in a deal that saw the midfielder return to the Corsican club on loan until the end of the season.

However, after impressing over the remainder of that campaign, Thauvin decided that the contract he had agreed with Lille was not up to scratch.

Keen to renegotiate his deal, the winger ran up against a brick wall when the club steadfastly refused such a request but he was having none of it.

Thauvin would go on to train just once with his Lille teammates before moving to Marseille. He never played a game for LOSC.

3. He’s not welcome in certain areas of France

As a result of his controversial antics concerning his contract with Lille, Thauvin found himself public enemy number one upon his return to the region with Marseille.

After landing in the north east region of France for a game with Lille back in late 2013, Thauvin was attacked by fans, while the club was forced to issue a statement calling for calm.

The statement, republished by FourFourTwo, read:

"The Lille board calls for calm and asks their supporters not to show an excess of pointless aggression towards our opponents but rather show - more than ever - their support for their team.”

4. He’s not always held his nerve when under pressure

L’OM fans may be happy to see the back of Thauvin given that he was arguably the architect for one of the club’s lowest points in recent times.

The incident in question came earlier this year when Marseille faced fourth-tier French side Grenoble in the French Cup.

After drawing 3-3 having shipped a last-gasp equaliser to the French league minnows, the game headed to penalty kicks.

It was there that Thauvin, once on the books at Grenoble, earned himself a special place in Marseille history as the only man to miss his spot kick with Marseille sent crashing out.

5. He’s part of a golden generation of young French stars

The 2013 Under-20 World Cup was a special one for France, who not only took home the title but used the tournament to showcase some of Les Bleus’ stars of tomorrow.

Thauvin was front-and-centre for much of the action with the likes of Kurt Zouma, Yaya Sanogo, Paul Pogba, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lucas Digne all starting the final.

Meanwhile, Thauvin’s finest hour came in the semi-finals where he netted a match-winning brace in a 2-1 win over Ghana.

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