Florian Thauvin has been a long term target for Newcastle, who have tried to sign him twice before this summer. The mercurial winger will arrive in England with a bad reputation, due to his poor attitude and a self belief that borders on arrogence at times. The transfer is believed to be worth £12m, while Marseille will receive Remy Cabella, with a view to a permanent deal. The view in France is that Newcastle are overpaying for a player voted in Ligue 1’s worst eleven last season, but Thauvin has lots of potential and a move to a new league could give him a new lease of life.
Newcastle supporters have raised eyebrows at the proposed deal, as Remy Cabella is a popular player and many wanted to see him given another year in the Premier League. However, Newcastle see Thauvin as a better fit in their squad as he is a natural winger. Cabella played the majority of his matches on the wing last season and for the most part, he was ineffective. The Frenchman is a natural number ten, a position Newcastle are well stocked in with Georginio Wijnaldum, Siem de Jong and Ayoze Perez all ahead of Cabella in the pecking order.
In comparison, Thauvin is capable of playing on either flank and he is also more physically ready for the Premier League. One of Cabella’s main issues in his first season was his lack of upper body strength, which allowed him to be dispossessed too easily at times. The 22 year old has been compared to Hatem Ben Arfa in the past few days, and in terms of character, the two are very similar, but Thauvin does have more to his game than the former Newcastle player. He will bring quality set pieces to St James’ Park, which is something that is desperately needed at the club, with Newcastle being one of the least prolific from dead balls in the Premier League.
Last season, Florian Thauvin was part of a dangerous attacking trio alongside Andre Ayew and Dimitri Payet. Both of his former team-mates have already made an impact in the Premier League after moving to England over the close season and Thauvin will be hoping to follow in their footsteps. He contributed five goals and four assists in an under par season during 2014/14.
Meanwhile, Cabella only managed to score once and get two assists during his debut campaign in the Premier League. This came after a superb season in Ligue 1 for Montpellier which saw him gatecrash the French 2014 World Cup squad. Cabella created 37 chances, which was fewer than the 53 chances Thauvin created for Marseille. Newcastle have been lacking creativity in their opening two matches and it appears that they see Thauvin as the solution. Thauvin (49) also made more key passes than Cabella (35), which suggests that he could bring more to the final third than his compatriot did.
In their opening two matches, Newcastle fielded Moussa Sissoko on the right wing and Gabriel Obertan on the left. Neither are naturals in the position they have been selected in, which highlights the need for a quality winger in the Newcastle squad. Rolando Aarons will make an impact over the next nine months, but he isn’t ready to become a first team regular yet. Florian Thauvin will bring natural width to the team, which is crucial after the signing of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is excellent in the air. Newcastle believe that Thauvin is the player to bring the best out of Mitrovic, providing the service that the striker needs to score goals.
Florian Thauvin will have a lot to prove if he does join Newcastle as expected, with both the media and Newcastle supporters being sceptical about what more he will bring to the team than Cabella. However, the Marseille attacker has a lot of self belief and he will be confident about building his reputation further in the Premier League. He is still only 22 years old and may need time to adapt, but there is no doubt that he could become an excellent player, if he sorts out his attitude problems. This is an intriguing deal for all parties as Thauvin and Cabella both have a lot to prove ahead of Euro 2016.