Are Newcastle already regretting signing Florian Thauvin?

St James Park

The big-money summer signing has not started for The Magpies’ since his poor display in the League Cup a month ago.

So poor was his performance against Sheffield Wednesday in September that he was hooked at half-time and has appeared only once since, a 25-minute cameo when Newcastle were 6-1 down to Manchester City at the start of October.

Winger Thauvin arrived from Marseille this summer with Remy Cabella going the other way, and began life on Tyneside with a magnificent display against Northampton Town. The tricky Frenchman scored once and grabbed three assists, but has shown no real quality since against better opposition.

Whilst it’s not uncommon for foreign stars to struggle with the physicality and pace of English football, it was more so the 22-year-old’s lack of discipline that cost him his place. Time and again this season, Thauvin has shown carelessness whilst on the ball and a dearth of desire to win it back once lost.

Thauvin’s lack of mental fortitude may have come as a surprise to fans that knew little about him, but surely hasn’t come as a surprise to Newcastle and their scouting staff, with the Frenchman’s reputation preceding him in Ligue 1.

After signing for Lille from his first professional club Bastia, the youngster played one game for Les Dogues before going on strike to earn a controversial move to Marseille. Many in France questioned why Newcastle would sign a player with a reputation for being difficult, especially after their previous problems with Hatem Ben Arfa.

Despite this, Steve McClaren is adamant that the Under-21 star can justify his hefty price tag. Speaking with The Chronicle last week, the 54-year-old stood by Thauvin: “He’s a good kid and he’s got ability.

“Some players come to the Premier League and adjust very quickly, while some take their time … He’s possibly one that needs to take their time.”

How Thauvin will develop without sufficient game time is a question for McClaren to answer, but it is clear that Newcastle’s fortunes have improved following his demotion to the bench.

Sunday’s 6-2 win against Norwich City was evidence that The Magpies’ attacking stars are starting to gel, with four goals from another summer signing, Georginio Wijnaldum, the highlight.

Along with Wijnaldum, the likes of Ayoze Perez, Moussa Sissoko, and Aleksandar Mitrović showed why they should be starting for Newcastle with illuminating displays.

Thauvin will have to display maturity and patience as he waits for a route back into the starting XI, characteristics many feel the youngster does not possess.

The next seven months will be crucial for the 22-year-old as he looks to prove his worth to Newcastle United. Should he fail, he may well find himself joining the list with the likes of Remy Cabella as another botched import of the Mike Ashley era.

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