Newcastle United’s first foray into the transfer market in two seasons shows is gaining momentum tonight, with the Monaco forward Emmanuel Rivière set to make a to €6million move. The lively right-sided attacker has been linked with a number of English clubs over the past year, and will add to a severely depleted Magpies forward line.
French daily L’Equipe claims the deal is close, and that the North East club are “confident” that the permanent transfer can be completed. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has already added young Spaniard Ayoze Perez, Ajax captain Siem de Jong, fellow Dutchman Daryl Janmaat and Jack Colback from rivals Sunderland, making these the first non-loan signings the club have made since a mid-season flurry of Frenchmen arrived in early 2013.
Rivière has featured fitfully for Monaco this season – starting out as a regular substitute to relieve the pressure on big money signing Radamal Falcao, before the Colombians injury. He scored the clubs first goal of the season, coming on in the 72nd minute to break the deadlock against Bordeaux, and followed it up with a superb hat-trick the following week against Montpellier.
However, the appearances dried up after January when Dimitar Berbatov was added to the attack and tinkerman manager Claudio Ranieri felt the pressure of the clubs billionaire ownership to play the stars they had richly provided.
Several clubs, including Everton, West Brom and, inevitably, Arsenal, had an eye on the man who has represented France at every youth level, but has yet to earn a senior cap. Everton went so far as to send senior scouts to watch the player in January in the return fixture against Montpellier, but no bid appears to have been made at the time.
There is a feeling in France that Rivière was a hot prospect but has maybe made the wrong decisions or simply been unlucky in his choice of clubs. That potential is still there, and at 24 years old the player knows this is his time to step up and make his mark.
Despite the lack of chances at Monaco, he still managed 10 league goals from just 19 starts and 11 substitute appearances, which compares very well with his Columbian teammates record of nine in 17 – although of course Falcao would have made more appearances if it weren’t for his season-ending injury back in January. He has been criticised in the past for being wasteful with chances, but his pace and strength on the ball can be destructive when used in the correct way.
Whether Pardew uses Rivière as an out-and-out striker through the middle, or deploys him in his favoured wide-right position, the player will be a welcome addition to the squad as it gears up for the new Premier League season. With longtime club backup Shola Ameobi being shown the door this summer, and the end of Loic Remy’s loan spell, it was becoming hard to see where the goals might come from this term.
Pardew and his staff are believed to want to add more fluidity to an attack which relied heavily on Yohan Cabaye’s playmaking and Remy’s abilities as a lone front-man last term. Adding the solidity of De Jong, and the pace of Rivière goes some way to addressing this, and may well be aided by the addition of Montpellier’s Remy Cabella if reports are to be believed.
As a former teammate of Moussa Sissoko at Toulouse, and the depth of French talent in the dressing room, Newcastle will hope that Rivière feels at home from the off, and the player will look forward to the prospect of finally playing week in, week out, and proving himself in the Premier League.
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