Two years ago, when Florian Thauvin cited homesickness to return to Marseille on loan, many Newcastle United fans were saying good riddance. His spell on Tyneside saw Steve McClaren struggle to trust him. Mclaren rarely played the young Frenchman in his starting eleven.
Bought in the summer of 2015 at the age of 22 for a reported £13 million, there were great expectations from Magpies fans. Thauvin clearly lacked the upper-body strength to play in the Premier League and in a relegation-destined Newcastle side, he was not given time or patience to settle down and find his feet. Five months later, having only made 16 appearances, Mclaren decided to cut his losses and allowed him to go back to Marseille on loan.
The rebirth of Florian Thauvin
Now, Thauvin is placing himself as a contender for Ligue 1 player of the year. This is an incredible achievement considering the talent at Paris St. Germain and AS Monaco. Thauvin has pushed himself into the reckoning for the French team. Manager Didier Deschamps will struggle to leave the Marseille winger out of his World Cup plans. France has talents like Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir and Dimitri Payet who will be fighting with Thauvin to get on the plane to Russia. With a return of 14 goals in 25 games and his fantastic form playing a huge part in Marseille’s resurgence, it won’t be too long to European top clubs are looking at Thauvin again.
Many observers have seen similarities with Arjen Robben and perhaps Bayern Munich may see Thauvin as a long-term successor to the Dutchman. Premier League clubs may be dissuaded from going for him due to his unhappy spell for the Toon Army. However, they must remember the golden rule of European football “just because you fail in England does not make you a bad player.” Angel Di Maria and Paulinho are proving that rule to be correct this year. The other fact is Newcastle are an unstable club under the Mike Ashley regime. Thauvin may be suited better to a team where he will be given time to develop his talents. Whatever the case, if Thauvin continues his form Newcastle fans will definitely see him as “the one who got away”.
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