Today is Gabriel Obertan’s 27th birthday, so lets put aside our frustrations with the man and wish him all the best! Whilst he has our attention, lets take a little stroll down memory lane with the Frenchman.
Born in Pantin, France – a young Obertan would become a product of the much celebrtaed Clairefontaine academy – which has produced the likes of former Toon players Hatem Ben Arfa, Sabasten Bassong, Louis Saha and Thierry Henry. Yeah we wish… He continued his schooling of excellence within the Paris-Saint Germain set up before making his mark at Bordeaux from 2006 to 2009. This period included a short loan at Lorient before his searing pace caught the attention of none other than Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, whom Gabby turned out for between 2009 and 2011. His career did not take off at the higher echelon of football and that is when he found his way to us.
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United saw something in Obertan at Premier League level that Manchester United did not – and promptly shelled out somewhere in the region of £3m for the French flyer. It took him 5 months to register his first Toon goal – in February 2012 – latching onto a Peter Lovenkrands ball and firing home during a 2-o victory over Blackburn Rovers. It would take Obertan 3 years in total to register a goal at St. James’ Park – scoring on October 18, 2014 with the winner against Leicester City F.C.
Gabby represented France at all youth levels, but could never make the jump to the senior side. This will be explained by a number of factors – such as an extensive history of injuries involving his hamstrings and more importantly his lack of footballing intelligence. It has been a frustrating time for Gabby here at the Toon. He has such raw pace whilst his work ethic and professionalism has never been in doubt. The sad truth is, he is just not cut out for it at this level. His indecisiveness means he appears to get himself into good positions when running with the ball – but when it comes to releasing it – the ball will find itself more often than than not flying wide of the target or failing to reach a teammate in goal scoring position.
Here is an example of one of Obertan’s best moments for Newcastle United;
Unfortunately, this example from his Manchester United days should have been all Alan Pardew needed to know before deciding whether to sign him or not;
Gabriel Obertan has represented out club 77 times, scoring 3 goals and registering 10 assists in about 4-and-a-half years. That’s roughly 17 appearances a season, mostly from the bench – in which he has directly contributed just shy of 3 goals a season. It’s fair to say it’s not worked out here at the Toon and with his contract running down this summer – we will be waving ‘Au Revoir’. In the meantime though, lets just simply wish the man best wishes on his birthday.