Of all the transfers from abroad to the Premier League, Ludwig Francillette’s move to Newcastle United was perhaps the most eyebrow raising.
The 20-year-old was playing in France’s sixth-tier with AS Quetigny when the English club plucked him out of nowhere to put them in their U23s, where he is expected to stay for the time being.
How did this transfer come about? L’Equipe went to find out and explained all, revealing Steven Gerrard’s Rangers were also interested in the player.
The man to thank for this move is Newcastle scout Guy Ipoua, who is based in Dijon and also works for the aforementioned AS Quetigny.
He said: “After seeing him a few times, I saw there was something there”.
Towering over most players at just under 6’5”, Francillette then travelled to Scotland this summer to have a few trials and see how he fared in British football, where his impressive physique fits into a lot of teams’ mentalities.
However, Newcastle, after watching him and listening to the advice of Ipoua once more, ‘didn’t hesitate’ to offer him a professional deal, ‘while Rangers were also on the case’.
It seems the Scottish side weren’t quick enough in offering him a chance to head to Ibrox, and the Premier League side walked away with a relatively gamble free player who could turn out to be something special.
For Francillette, it’s a dream come true, as L’Equipe point out he was ‘planning on returning to the Antilles’ had the trip to Scotland not worked out.
Thankfully for him, it did.