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.
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.
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.