Florian Thauvin arrived at Newcastle United in the summer of 2015 in the hope that he could succeed where Remy Cabella, another sprightly French winger who failed to adapt on Tyneside, had failed.
However, six months and three starts into his five-year deal, Thauvin had followed Cabella back to France, specifically Marseille. Shunted out to the left of midfield by then Newcastle boss Steve McClaren, preventing his cut-in-and-shoot trademark, the £13 million attacker looks destined to earn a place in The Magpies cavernous pantheon of flops – even if the manager should cop most of the blame, Sky Sports reports.
However, as Thauvin tells L’Equipe, there may be another reason he appeared so uncomfortable on English shores. It sounds like the transfer, occurring almost immediately after charismatic boss Marcelo Bielsa resigned at the start of the season, was more an ill-thought out snap decision rather than a calculated choice.
“Basically, I was to stay at Marseille, it was planned that way,” the 24-year-old says.
“The problem was the departure of Marcelo Bielsa after two days. The whole project has been questioned, my future at OM too. I made the decision to leave, it was done very quickly.”
However, a return to the Stade Velodrome after a matter of months has reaped instant rewards and reminded Newcastle why they signed him in the first place.
Still on loan at Marseille, albeit with an ‘obligation to buy’ in the summer, as reported by the BBC, Thauvin has been a rare bright spark in a difficult campaign, netting 10 times in 28 Ligue 1 starts from his favoured right-wing position.
McClaren has a bit of time on his hands these days. Maybe he should mosey down to Marseille to remind himself what he missed.