Newcastle have a rich history of French footballers, especially in recent memory, but some have been less successful than others.
Newcastle have a special relationship with French footballers.
St. James’ Park has been home to players such as David Ginola, Laurent Robert and Hatem Ben Arfa, who have dazzled Newcastle fans with their flair.
However, it has also been home to some Frenchmen who have failed to live up to the mark, and it appears that more often than not, Newcastle’s French fancies from across the English Channel have been a flop rather than a success.
Moussa Sissoko was the latest Frenchman to leave Newcastle, heading south to Tottenham Hotspur.
The midfielder is another player who likely will go down as a failure in fans’ eyes, but does Sissoko make the Magpies’ French flop XI?
French goalkeepers are hard to come by at Newcastle, and even Lionel Perez didn’t make an appearance for the club, despite signing from rivals Sunderland in 1998.
Perez was behind Shay Given and Steve Harper in the pecking order, and ended up having loan spells at Scunthorpe and Cambridge, signing for the latter permanently in 2000.
SImply one of the strangest signings in Newcastle history.
Signed in 1999 from PSG by Ruud Gullit, Alain Goma never really settled on Tyneside.
The defender spent two years at Newcastle, with appearances limited due to a range of niggling injuries.
That, combined with the issue that Goma did not like life in the North East, saw him join Fulham in 2001, where he managed to play more than 100 games.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was brought in as a replacement for then-captain Fabricio Coloccini, but when the Argentine didn’t move on, things became difficult for the French centre-back.
Yanga-Mbiwa joined with a good pedigree, having captained Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title in 2012, but never found his place in black-and-white.
Now at Lyon, the 27-year-old probably left Tyneside too soon, and his career was certainly salvageable, but he will always go down as another French flop.
Boumsong joined Newcastle in 2005, having only spent half a season at Rangers.
An impressive figure for Rangers, Graeme Souness decided to bring the defender to St. James’ Park for £8 million, despite the fact the defender cost the Gers nothing just six months earlier.
Capped 27 times for France, Boumsong only spent 18 months at Newcastle before joining then-Serie B side Juventus.
Although he started brightly in black-and-white, Boumsong’s Newcastle career can only be described as shambolic, from the fee to the performances.
The only player in the French flop XI who is currently still on Tyneside, Haidara joined in January 2013 as part of the influx of French signings, including Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Debuchy.
Had it not been for injuries, the 23-year-old would probably be nowhere near this team. Alas, injured is the one word that defines Haidara’s Newcastle career. The French left-back was the victim of a horror tackle by Callum McManaman away to Wigan, resulting in the youngster being stretchered off, while McManaman got away unpunished.
Returning from injury, Haidara has never looked comfortable in black-and-white, with most of his first touches being so bad that his second is always a tackle.
Romain Amalfitano is the younger brother of Morgan Amalfitano. One had successful spells at West Ham and West Brom, the other never made a Premier League appearance.
Guess which one Newcastle had?
Romain was limited to Europa League appearances, and then left for Dijon on loan, where he now plays permanently. Newcastle really should have looked at the older Amalfitano instead…
The last French player to arrive at Newcastle, Henri Saivet couldn’t have joined the Magpies at a worse time and suffered because of it.
Signing for a disjointed team who had just bought Jonjo Shelvey, there was really no room for the 25-year-old.
Despite being born in Senegal, Saivet has spent all of his career in France, bar his horror six months in England, and has been capped up to Under-21 level with France.
Saivet is now on loan at St. Etienne, and should be the last of Graham Carr’s cheap French buys at Newcastle.
Another Frenchman crippled by injuries, Sylvain Marveaux’s Newcastle career could be summed up by one question: what if?
Had the midfielder been fit, he could have been a Newcastle star, as he showed flashes of brilliance in black-and-white.
However, when he was fit, he simply couldn’t play 90 minutes. Constantly drifting in and out of games, Marveaux was being carried far too often by his teammates.
He was released towards the end of last season, and returned to France with Lorient.
Florian Thauvin lasted six months at Newcastle before returning to Marseille. That should tell you all you need to know about his career on Tyneside,
Some fans felt that he wasn’t given a fair crack of the whip, but Thauvin’s performances did nothing to suggest he could be a success in the Premier League, with his weak stature and unwillingness to defend.
The 23-year-old probably spent more time playing with his hair than he did on the pitch at Newcastle, which isn’t ideal when you’re in a relegation battle.
Just like Thauvin, Remy Cabella now plies his trade in Marseille, but he did last six months longer at St James’ Park. Also like Thauvin, he was too weak for the Premier League and liked his hair a bit too much.
Cabella captured the hearts of Newcastle fans initially, as it looked like he could be the man to fill the void created by Hatem Ben Arfa.
However, the attacking midfielder was all flash and no substance, only scoring one goal during his year at Newcastle.
Before he joined Newcastle, Emmanuel Riviere’s goal-scoring record was never great.
Now on loan at Ossasuna, his goal-scoring record still isn’t great. During his Newcastle career, Riviere managed three goals, with two of those coming in the Capital One Cup.
The striker’s only Premier League goal came against QPR, in which he slipped and kicked the ball onto his opposite foot, and then celebrating with acrobatics as if he had won Newcastle the league.
Forever missing brilliant chances, no Newcastle fan will have fond memories of Riviere, who leads the line for the Magpies’ French flop XI.