Recently compared to Arjen Robben by Robert Pirès, Florian Thauvin’s season at Marseille is going rather well.
Assisting and scoring for fun, the former Newcastle winger is enjoying himself back in Ligue 1, and is preparing himself for a tough fixture against Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League, one that could see the French side go through to the next round with a draw.
Speaking to UEFA’s website ahead of the fixture, Thauvin was asked about his time at St James’ Park, one that ended very prematurely when the Magpies sent him back on loan to his former club six months after spending £16m on him.
He answered: “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”.
With nine goals and nine assists this season, the 24-year-old is now on the more dangerous forwards in Ligue 1, a far cry from the flop Newcastle fans will remember him as.
While there’s little chance of him returning to St James’ Park anytime soon, perhaps a return to England could be on the cards in the future.
It’ll have to be an attractive offer, however, as the France international makes it very clear: “Marseille is my home”.