Here we look at young players across the globe who we believe have the potential to become the next big thing. Today we examine Florian Thauvin’s career to date and judge what sort of player he can become in the future.
Florian Thauvin is seen as one of France’s best young talents, but in fact, he has been around for a long time. The new Marseille man started his football his career at the age of 7, playing for local side FCM Ingre. The youngster impressed in his five year stint here, and after a brief year and a half at FCO Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle, he earned himself a move a short distance down the D2157 to then Ligue 1 and current CFA side U.S Orleans.
For a brief time, shortly after his move at the age of 15, Florian Thauvin’s footballing career did look set to be over; A stress fracture in his back had the club doctors worrying that he would never be able to play football at a high level, but luckily for the Frenchman, it healed and he went on to be training with the reserves at the age of 16! His career at Orleans was short lived, however, as then newly promoted side Grenoble Foot 38 from across France came calling.
It has to be said that Thauvin’s time in Grenoble was a success and it was the right place for him to develop and slowly ease himself into professional football. After two years playing with the second team at Grenoble, who by this time had been relegated back to Ligue 2 after two seasons with France’s elite, Thauvin was given three games in the first team and in that short time made an impression for his fearlessness and creativity. He was also noticed by France and played 2 under-18 international games during the 2010-11 campaign. At the end of that season, however, Florian received another set-back; Grenoble filed for bankruptcy and Thauvin was released from the club after having made just three appearances for the first team.
Nevertheless, Frederic Hantz was on hand to rescue the 18 year old and offered him a two year deal with Bastia. Thauvin of course accepted and despite playing much of the season in the reserve squad of the then Ligue 2 side, was very important in their promotion, playing 16 games for the club in all competitions, despite most of them being from the bench. Another year saw Thauvin move up another age group with France as well, as the teenager featured in two games for the Under-19 squad this time.
It is fair to say, however, that last season, the 2012-13 campaign, was an incredible success for the player, but also one wrapped in controversy surrounding the transfer window. Thauvin managed to change himself from a bit part player in Ligue 2 the season before, to Bastia’s best player in Ligue 1 in a period of 6 months and this earned him a move to heavyweights Lille from the Corsican club in January.
Despite no longer being a Bastia player, Thauvin was loaned back to the club and was their key player throughout the second half of the season, being fundamental in scalps such as a brilliant 4-1 trashing of Lyon. The Frenchman was awarded Young Player of the Year at the annual UNFP awards ceremony pipping Marco Verratti, Remi Cabella and Lucas Digne in the process.
Across the sea, however, Lille continued to struggle and were unable to finish in the Champions League spots. Amazingly, despite not playing a game for the club that he only signed for earlier this year, Thauvin made it clear that he felt he had made the wrong choice and wanted a move away from his new club. He is also rumoured to have sacked his agents who sealed the deal in the first place. Marseille was the club that Thauvin had his eyes set on and he was told by coach Elie Baup that he was the priority for the side. Despite moves from Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal for the player, Florian turned them down as he wanted the move to OM and did not feel his was ready yet for a move abroad. Eventually, after a saga that went on the whole summer, Thauvin pushed through a move on deadline day.
Marseille represents a new challenge for the boy with a big ego as he will no longer be seen as the biggest player on the side. Nevertheless, him and Payet down the flanks can cause problems for any side and he is the sort of player that can genuinely push Marseille towards a title challenge.
Thauvin’s reputation is dented, however, as many now see him as the ‘brat’ of French football with Lille boss Girard adding that he should be banned for his actions. The Frenchman, who was a key member in allowing the U20 side to win the World Cup this summer, now needs to let his football do the talking.
Arguably, Thauvin’s greatest asset is his movement off the ball. He works tirelessly to provide options for his central midfielders, even if they decide not to play the ball he is offering. It is this especially, which makes him cut out for future success. 18 goals in all competitions last campaign also shows that he is a big threat going forward as well. He is by no means a player with a lack of motivation or drive to become the best of his kind, at least on the pitch. One would speculate that it will not be long before he is in the full French national team and I am sure that he will be subject of much interest from even better sides in the future.