Two years ago when Florian Thauvin cited homesickness to return to Marseille on loan, a lot of Newcastle fans were saying good riddance. His spell on Tyneside saw Steve McClaren struggle to trust him and Mclaren felt he could rarely trust the young Frenchman in his starting eleven. Bought in the summer of 2015 at the age of 22 for a reported £13m there were great expectations from Magpies fans. Thauvin clearly lacked the upper strength to play in the Premier League and in a relegation-destined Newcastle side he was not given time or patience to settle down and find his feet. Five months later, having only made 16 appearances Mclaren decided to cut his losses and allowed him to go back to Marseille on loan. The same player is placing himself as a contender for Ligue 1 player of the year which is an incredible achievement considering the talent at Paris St Germain and Monaco. Thauvin has pushed himself into the reckoning for the French team let alone the squad and Didier Deschamps will struggle to leave the Marseille winger out of his World Cup plans. France have talents like Ousmane Dembele,Nabil Fekir and Dimitri Payet who will all be fighting with Thauvin to get on the plane to Russia. With a return of 14 goals in 25 games and his fantastic form playing a huge part in Marseille’s resurgence it won’t be too long to European top clubs start looking at Thauvin again.
Many observers have seen quite a lot of similarities with Arjen Robben and perhaps Bayern Munich may see Thauvin as a long term successor to the Dutchman. Premier League clubs may be dissuaded from going for him due to his unhappy spell for the Toon Army. However, they must remember the golden rule of European football “just because you fail in England does not make you a bad player”. Angel Di Maria and Paulinho are proving that rule to be correct this year with their performances. The other fact is Newcastle is an unstable club under the Ashley regime and Thauvin may be suited better to a team where he will be given time to develop his talents. Whatever the case, if Thauvin continues his form Newcastle fans will definitely see him as “the one who got away”.