Newcastle United have certainly been every Gallic teams nightmare in recent seasons; as their scouts peruse across The Channel for cheap and talented footballing stock to join a club already full to the brim with French-speaking players.
Even those not from France such as the Papiss Cisse, Cheikh Tiote, Gael Bigirimana, Mehdi Abeid and recently departed Demba Ba come from French-speaking areas of Africa.
Then there is the straight out Francophones such as Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Romain Amalfitano, Sylvain Marveaux, Yoann Gouffran and Yohan Cabaye who also ply their trade on Tyneside.
With the summer rumour mill already sifting through the various talents from Ligue 1 ready to make the switch to St James Park one Frenchman who the club did not manage to convince to join the, sorry for the pun, French Revolution has revealed why; and it was that old favourite ‘footballing reasons’ that were to blame for The Toon missing out on one of France’s most highly rated young players.
Florian Thauvin was hunted by both Newcastle and Arsenal in January and the former Bastia player was well aware of their interest. The French youth international has shown excellent potential this season playing in a variety of positions and scoring three goals before agreeing a €3.5 million move to fellow French side Lille.
He was then allowed to return to his former team Bastia on loan until the end of the season in order to continue his development playing first-team football week-in-week-out and this was perhaps the footballing reasons he spoke of.
Here is what the 20-year-old said about turning down the Premier League for a step up in Ligue 1:
“[Arsenal and Newcastle] are very big clubs and what’s more the Premier League is a really big league, so I was really happy about their interest. It just makes me even more determined to get to the top. I thought about it with my agents. We’ve always put football first, and I thought the offer I got from Lille was the most appealing. Even if they’re not doing so well this season, I’m convinced they’ll get their focus back and have a really good season next season.”
It seems that despite the obvious lure of the Premier League and the French company on offer at both The Emirates and especially up north he decided it was best for him to continue at Bastia this season and then make the step up slowly to the top via Lille; a team well known for rearing talent in recent years.
While Newcastle fans should be upset at missing out on this talented player at least he decided Newcastle was not the correct destination for the right reasons and maybe one day he can join the Newcastle-sur-Tyne equipe when he is ready.
Do you think Florian Thauvin made the right choice by snubbing the Premier League?
image: © jack_pickard