Newcastle’s big-money summer signing has shown a poor attitude since joining from Marseille, and should not play this weekend.
Many believe that Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren is likely to stick with the French winger for Saturday's visit of league champions Chelsea, either starting or on the bench. Despite abject showings in the last four games from Thauvin, McClaren will stand by his new arrival or risk removing any confidence the 22-year-old may have left. Realistically, the 54-year-old should drop Thauvin after a string of lacklustre displays.
Sky Sports pundit Phil Thomson watched Newcastle’s 2-1 loss at home to new boy’s Watford and aptly summed up the wingers performance: “He’s awful, he just runs with the ball all the time, there's never any end product. He looks very lightweight, and gets pushed off by a lot of physical players. He runs down a lot of blind alleys. There's no sort of creativity from him at all."
It was something Magpies legend Alan Shearer also picked up on during his analysis on last Saturday’s Match of The Day. The former club captain called his “lack of quality alarming” in the final third, whilst his defensive capabilities were also called into question as he regularly failed to track back: “He might be able to do that in the French league but you can’t do that in the Premier League”.
The midweek League Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday was meant to be a game which allowed Thauvin to bounce back against lower league opposition. Instead, the former France under-21 international was hauled off at half-time for his dire display and subjected to ridicule in the press - including the Daily Mail - on Thursday morning.
Whilst it’s not just Thauvin who should come in for criticism for the form that sees Newcastle sat 19th in the Premier League table, the decision to gamble on him despite a less than stellar reputation, as well as letting Remy Cabella switch to Marseille as part of the deal, is looking worse for the Toon every time Thavin has a run-out.
With Chelsea recovering from their early season dip in form, and taking into account the attacking threat of Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, the risk of playing Thauvin in front of full-back Daryl Janmaat is a recipe for disaster. The Dutchman likes to get forward and has surprisingly been Newcastle’s biggest attacking threat with seven shots and one goal in their two previous league fixtures. Without cover behind from the right-winger, Newcastle will be seriously exposed.
In his place, Steve McClaren has the option of Ayoze Perez, Siem De Jong, Rolando Aarons and even Gabriel Obertan, all of whom have shown more willingness on the field in both defence and attack and fight for the badge.
Should he be dropped, it will either be the wake-up call that Thauvin needs and see him battle back, or will simply reaffirm what many suspected before he joined, given his history; namely that he is neither mentally or physically prepared to play at Newcastle United.