Former NUFC winger Florian Thauvin has claimed that he struggled to make an impact during his brief spell at Newcastle United as the move came ‘too early’ for him – also suggesting the physicality of the Premier League, the culture shock, the language barrier and even the food were contributing factors to his nightmare stint at St James’ Park.
After arriving at Newcastle for £12m in the summer of 2015, Thauvin scored just once in 16 appearances for the club and never looked settled. His stint in England was soon over, just months after it had all begun.
Following a series of loan moves back to Marseille, he made his return to France permanent this summer and has never looked back since.
He’s gone on to bag 24 goals and 20 assists across the past two seasons in Ligue 1 with Marseille, seeing him courted by some of Europe’s top side and called up to the star-studded French national side in the process.
He’s what he said about his failed move to Newcastle when speaking to UEFA’s official site this week about his career so far:
“The league is completely different. It’s far more physical. There’s a lot more contact. You need to be ready, you have to put on muscle before going to the Premier League.
“It was too early for me. It’s a transfer that happened quickly. Normally, you take your time, you think about it, but for me it all happened too quickly after Marcelo Bielsa’s departure.
“I was young, I was 22. At 22, you leave your country, you discover a new culture, a new language, a new league, the food isn’t the same. It’s complicated, but they’re things that help you grow up”.
Thauvin’s tale provides a rare story of success following life after St James’ Park, with us so often seeing departing ‘stars’ go on to see their career go downhill. Some of his reasons for his failure at NUFC are a little feeble however.
He may not have been given a real run in the side at NUFC, and he did arrive as a young adult in a new city and new league, but he never really looked interested.
We don’t know what was going on off the pitch during his time on Tyneside, but you could tell his heart wasn’t in it – which was really disappointing to see after we forked out £12m pounds for his services.
His incredible form in France makes us wonder if he is ‘the one that got away’, but I really doubt that he’d have ever reached these heights if he hadn’t returned home.
Here’s a glimpse of the sort of form he’s been producing to earn him a call-up to the French national squad: