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Old Rumors are New Again!

Rumors come and rumors go... but sometimes they come back.

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Some rumors never die.  They merely hang around until it almost becomes believable and then either disappear or disappear because the player inevitably ends up at a different club.  Like Wilfried Bony.  Or Bafetimbi Gomis.  Or Douglas.  Or Nicolas Nkuoluo.  Or Andre-Pierre Gignac... but anyway.  There are a couple of rumors that have jumped back into the front of the reporting cycle that may or may not fit into this mold.

Florian Thauvin

Florian Thauvin was strongly connected to Newcastle United prior to his 2013 summer move to Marseille.  Two years on, Thauvin is now 22 and has scored 15 goals while providing 13 assists in 76 appearances with l'OM.  He also has a reputation as being very similar to Hatem Ben Arfa in more ways than just the scoring and on-ball blinding skills.  He is reported to have the "Mercurial" part down as well... in fact down to the point where news reports have suggested he has lost the support of his coach and the l'OM dressing room.  A quick internet search for "Thauvin attitude" will tell you most everything you need to know (albeit largely in French).  For instance, this article from Metro News Sports tells a tale of fractured relationships with Marcelo Bielsa, Steve Mandanda and, well... the whole dressing room are easy enough to pick out even through the admittedly terrible work of online automatic translators.  The powers of Google Translate, Babylon and imTranslator get the message across clearly enough.

According to the Chronicle, Thauvin is supposed to be Steve McClaren's first transfer as Head Coach of Newcastle United.  While the prospect of HBA-style excitement returning to St. James' Park is... well... exciting,  but the exact same flip side is not quite as exciting.  Alan Pardew succeeded initially with Ben Arfa but then it went miserably downhill to the point that it almost ended HBA's career.  If McClaren and his staff can harness Florian Thauvin to use his powers only for good, there is immeasurable upside to this move if it actually is completed.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

You may remember way back at the beginning of the close season that Mitrovic was the surprising first player to be connected with Newcastle United.  It seemed unlikely at the time due to the reported cost of the player among other reasons (such as the fact that we still didn't, you know... have a manager or anything).  Mitrovic is young (20 years old) and commanding a fee in the neighborhood of €18m (£12.8m) and has been connected with Spurs and Manchester United along with reported current suitors Benfica and Porto.  As a point of contrast, Ayoze Perez joined Newcastle United for £1.8m at the same age.  Without doubt the Serbian is a highly rated prospect that is already European tested (3 goals in 7 CL/EL matches) and scored 27 times in 50 appearances for Anderlecht this past year.  Probably even more than completing a deal for Thauvin a deal for Mitrovic would be the "statement" transfer that the Toon Army have been waiting for at least initially... it would be entirely within the realm of possibility that Charnley, Ashley and Carr would cash huge at their earliest possible convenience.  The short-term benefit would be a rehabilitation of image to the fans as well as to players looking for greener pastures.

This rumor ultimately feels like a cartoon set-up in which there is a carpet covering a hole on which I am being encouraged to stand.  It's likely to be pulled out from under me thus leaving me in free fall to who knows where... but it's fun to dream.