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Slammed by Alan Shearer, £15m flop Florian Thauvin is now a World Cup finalist

The Newcastle United flop has turned his career around since his woeful spell at St James’ Park.

Mathew Nash

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When Newcastle United saw one man warming up during the World Cup semi-final last night it left many aghast. The player in question was Florian Thauvin, who briefly threatened to come onto the pitch in place of Olivier Giroud.

Now, Newcastle fans will be equally amazed that the Frenchman is a World Cup finalist.

The Toon spent big to bring in Thauvin. Back in the summer of 2015, Newcastle paid a reported £15 million plus Remy Cabella on loan to Marseille for Thauvin’s services.

His time at St James’ Park bordered on shambolic. Thauvin played 13 times for Newcastle but was loaned out after just six months, heading back to Marseille.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

His time at Newcastle became synonymous with the failure of the previously fruitful French market for the club. His biggest impact was his fashion sense. The in-joke of several newbies to wear a tuxedo as their matchday suit drew ire from legend Alan Shearer and left Thauvin feeling isolated.


“He turns up in a tux. This is a serious business we’re in here, it was funny on the first day of the season, it’s not funny anymore.

– Newcastle legend Alan Shearer after Thauvin’s performance v Watford in September 2015


Since then, he has proven just why Newcastle invested £15 million in his services. This season has been sensational for the 25-year-old, who is now at Marseille permanently. He played 54 times for his club, scoring 26 goals and bagging 18 assists, as l’OM made the Europa League final.

Newcastle fans will no doubt wonder what might have been from Thauvin. But perhaps he was simply not right for the club in his younger years.

He will now hope to make an appearance in the final this Sunday. But if not, he may still come away with a World Cup winner’s medal.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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Newcastle United

Nottingham Forest fans should get excited about signing Jack Colback

The midfielder was a solid loan signing for Nottingham Forest during the 2017/18 campaign.

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Jack Colback
Photo: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest have been extremely active during the summer transfer window and the business done by the club has offered supporters optimism that the 2018/19 campaign might just be a good one for the Reds.

Spanish boss Aitor Karanka has possessed a ruthless streak during the off season and in signing nine players it seems pretty clear that he is determined to ensure he has the very best squad at his disposal ahead of the big kick-off.

According to the Daily Mail (19/07/18 16:09), signing number ten doesn’t look to be too far away, with former loan star Jack Colback seemingly set to re-sign for the Reds on a season-long loan from Newcastle United.

“The other players, they know because I told them I wanted to keep a smaller squad with players who will be part of the future. The others know they have to find a solution,” Rafa Benitez recently told the Newcastle Chronicle.

“It’s the same situation [with Colback]. He’s already talking with a club and then I think he will find a solution.”

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The 28-year-old made 16 appearances for the Reds last season, netting one goal, and his performances helped ensure that Forest didn’t become too embroiled in a relegation battle towards the end of the campaign.

Perhaps surprisingly Forest supporters are pretty divided when it comes to whether or not they want their club to complete a deal for Colback, although it seems pretty clear that some fans are letting the player’s excessive wages at Newcastle get in the way of making a balanced case for his arrival on Trentside being a good thing.

It is safe to say that the central midfielder is on a Premier League wage at the Magpies but the beauty of Forest securing another loan deal for the player is that they won’t have to foot the bill for whole salary, whilst Colback’s contract at St. James’ Park expires next summer making him a free agent.

It would appear, however, that the fans who don’t want Colback to check back in at the City Ground are somewhat unaware of the actual quality he brings with him.

During his spell with the East Midlands-based outfit last term he boasted a pass complete percentage of 89.6, according to WhoScored.com, and that sort of proficiency would be a massive asset for Forest as they look to try and challenge for promotion next season.

A changing of the guard has undoubtedly taken place under the stewardship of Aitor Karanka, with average no longer acceptable on the banks of the River Trent.

The signing of a player with Colback’s ability will only serve to enhance such a reputation and could go a long way towards Forest making a genuine push towards challenging for honours come the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

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Newcastle United

Newcastle United playing with fire as Rafa Benitez deserves much better

With finances restricted once again, Rafael Benitez faces a difficult summer.

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Rafa Benitez
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez find themselves in transfer limbo once again under the ownership of Mike Ashley, as the controversial boss continues to restrict finances.

The Sports Direct magnate has attracted plenty of criticism during his tenure in charge at St. James’ Park and he has found himself in the fan’s firing line once again following the recent admission from Rafael Benitez.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss overachieved last season in the club’s return to the Premier League, securing a tenth-placed finish, but has received no sort of backing as a reward from Ashley – admitting he must ‘wheel and deal’ in the market.

“We have to wheel and deal, that is the way for us. And then we try to continue doing the right things. As soon as the price goes a little bit higher, I know that we cannot buy them.”

Newcastle United boss Benitez reveals restrictions on spending.

The issue for Newcastle is that it is certainly not the first time Ashley has restricted funds, particularly in Benitez’s spell in charge, and sees the owner go back on a promise he made in May – when he told Sky Sports ‘every penny generated’ would be available to the fan-favourite manager.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Thankfully, the Chronicle says Benitez will remain loyal to the Magpies despite the financial restrictions but alarm bells should be ringing around Tyneside, especially after Benitez told Sky Sports he had the chance to manage Spain at the World Cup.

Benitez clearly remains highly-coveted in European football and Mike Ashley’s continued desire to play with fire leaves the Magpies in a very dangerous position. After all, if Benitez does quit what manager is going to accept a move to a club where they know they will be fighting against the odds from day one under an owner who wants to jump ship?

Newcastle have been up for sale for almost a year, which the Chronicle confirms remains the case in May, but there is no signs of progression in negotiations and optimism that a deal would be completed before Christmas last year now feels a long, long way off.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Benitez deserves credit for the work he has done in the market so far, signing Ki Sung-Yeung on a free transfer and bringing Kenedy back on-loan for the season from Chelsea, as well as landing Martin Dubravka on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague.

If he can secure bargains like that with a restricted budget, then imagine what he could achieve with respectable finances to work with.

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Three reasons why Kenedy can become Newcastle’s talisman next season

The 22-year-old made an instant impact when he joined on loan last season.

Liam Thomas

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Kenedy
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United managed to acquire Kenedy’s services for another season, after bringing the silky winger in on loan last January from Chelsea.

During his time at St. James’ Park last season, the Brazilian showed glimpses of the genius that saw Chelsea bring him into their ranks from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminense and he will, in no doubt, be an extremely effective weapon for Rafael Benitez to have at his disposal next season.

But can the 22-year-old take it up a notch and become Newcastle’s star man in the 2018/19 Premier League season?

A brilliant manager to learn from

Kenedy will again have to chance to play under Spanish tactician Rafael Benitez, a manager who’s done and won it all.

Benitez seemed to get the best out of Kenedy last season for the Magpies, and the young Brazilian won’t find many other managers around who are invested in getting the very best out of their young talents.

He had a huge impact playing just half the season for Newcastle

When Kenedy arrived on Tyneside in January, Benitez’ team were struggling, and in a rut of bad form, the Brazilian played his part in turning the clubs fortunes around and helped his new side to a top half finish.

It is a mouthwatering prospect to think for Newcastle fans what Kenedy will achieve with the club given a full season with them, and now he has fully settled into life in the city, he may be able to make an even bigger impact next season.

Young, ambitious and highly rated

At 22 years of age, Kenedy is poised to have the best season of his career so far and his energetic style of play bodes well for Newcastle next season.

You only have to look back as far as April to see the kind of teams interested in taking Kenedy into their ranks for the new season. Sky Sports reported that Bayern Munich and PSG were considering launching bids for the winger; a testament to how highly rated he is.

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