Hello and welcome to the first in my series where I shall be probing the latest batch of French fancies picked up on Graham Carr’s Eurostar shopping trips to Lille.
I will be looking at the latest four signings in no particular order, who were Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haïdara and Moussa Sissoko. There was of course a fifth who came before them, Mathieu Debuchy, but the pursuit of him went on for so long that I have already written several pieces about him, including this one where I looked at Debuchy in comparison with Newcastle United’s existing first choice right back, Danny Simpson, when Debuchy was still a Lille player. Hence, I will leave him on the backburner for now.
So without further ado I will move on to the first of our French foursome, Yoan Gouffran, purchased from our Group D Europa League opponents, Girondins de Bordeaux for a highly cut price fee of €2.5 million, which converts to around £2.1 million at current exchange rates. This was because Gouffran’s contract at Bordeaux was due to expire in the Summer anyway and he was already free to reach a pre contract agreement with another club which could have seen him leave Bordeaux for nothing in the Summer. Let’s start by getting his statistics out the way!
Height: 5′ 9 1⁄2″
Positions: Centre Forward / left, right sided forward and attacking midfield.
|Yoan Gouffran’s career stats.|
|SM Caen (all competitions).|
|Girondins de Bordeaux (all competitions).|
|App – Appearences, Gls – Goals, Ass – Assists, YC – Yellow Cards RC – Red Cards, MPl – Minutes Played, MPG – Minutes Per Goal.|
Gouffran’s style of play.
Though not a hugely prolific goalscorer (on a minutes per goal scored basis his average is around the same as Shola Ameobi’s), he is quite a good finisher who also has some experience playing on either side of a front three, or as an attacking midfielder or second striker playing off a hitman at the front, a bit more like a Ben Arfa than a Ba or a Cisse. Having written that, he has played nearly all his games in the last two seasons at Bordeaux in a centre forward role. His passing is also pretty good though perhaps his crossing is possibly a slightly weaker area. He has good speed, is comfortable with the ball at his feet and his hold up play is good. Being something of a midfielder too, he can also drop slightly deeper during games if necessary and can also be something of a threat on set pieces. But let’s hear from Yoan himself speaking after his move to Newcastle. He began on the pressure of following on from Demba Ba at first saying:
“There is no real added pressure because Demba Ba has gone. I’m an attacker, yes I want to score goals but we are different style of players. Each to their own. My big assets is speed. I’m fast and I score goals. My main position is centre-forward but I can play to the side or behind a striker if I have to, I can adapt my style of play if I like. I have spoken with the manager and he told me how he wants to use me.”
Meanwhile, his one time Montpellier opponent and now Newcastle United teammate, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (the subject of one of my foollowing pieces in this series too), had this to say on Gouffran’s style:
“I have met him several times, and played against him in the French league. He is the type of player that gives us defenders a lot of work, he makes us work very hard. He runs deep, collects the ball, and holds it up very well. He lets the team get forward, and gives the team chances to counter attack. He’s good on the ball, and that would be something very useful for the team.”
Looking at his most recent games for Bordeaux before he joined Newcastle United, he had an excellent scoring spell for Les Girondins between late October and the beginning of December, scoring six goals in eight games. Fortunately for we Toon fans, one of the games he didn’t score in during that period was in Bordeaux’s very disappointing performance against us in our first Europa League game at St James’ Park, which we won 3-0. A more barren spell followed from early December until now however, with Gouffran scoring only one in seven appearences.
Good. Gouffran’s last injury was a Malleolar (ankle) injury sustained back in February 2011. This kept him out for a lengthy period, around four months. However since then he seems to have been fine and he’s certainly no “ticking time bomb.” One odd little curiousity about Gouffran which you may have heard already though is that he is a footballer who is allergic to grass! It doesn’t seem to have caused him any problems in his game at all though so no worries there.
Gouffran on video.
Alot of the YouTube compilations of Gouffran are very old ones of a very youthful Gouffran from four or five years back. The video below is a far more recent one. Although the TV studio looks pretty fancy, it is from his previous club’s web TV station. For non French speakers out there, the dialogue is only for the first few seconds then it soon moves on to a compilation of hot Gouffran action.
Yoan Gouffran – “Club House spécial Gouffran.”
Finally, here is a shorter compilation of recent Gouffran action.
Yoan Gouffran – Welcome To Newcastle.
Before I go, just a quick word on the new poll below. Originally we had one which only covered M’Biwa, Gouffran and Haidara when they were signed in quick succession, however I have now updated the old poll so it now includes all five signing of the January transfer window so far including first signing, Mathieu Debuchy, along with the most recent who was only signed just after the original poll was published, Moussa Sissoko.