Not so long ago, fans would dread seeing Yoan Gouffran’s name on the team sheet, however, under the guidance of Rafa Benitez, the Frenchman’s form has significantly improved. With his contract expiring in the summer of 2017, I look closely at if the left winger deserves a new deal.
Gouffran is clearly past his prime, as the former Bordeaux player turns 31 in May this year. Age though is maybe just a number because there is no doubt he has been rejuvenated under Benitez and he has certainly done a job so far in the championship. He’s largely contributed towards the success of this season, starting 21 games, totalling 1591 minutes on the pitch in total.
He’s scored a few important goals in the championship, five in total, with the most memorable strike undoubtedly the volley at derby away. Gouffran has managed to notch five assists and also boasts an impressive passing record with 560 short balls successfully played compared to 28 long balls, evidence of him clearly buying into the new philosophy implemented at the club.
One of Gouffran’s main attributes is his versatility and this combined with his attitude to work hard justifies why he is one of the first names on the team sheet. Whether it’s on the left wing, up front or even centre midfield at times, he has given it his all this season which maybe couldn’t have been said about him in seasons past.
It could be argued, however, that he has found his level and with the Magpie’s aiming to return to the Premier League next season, would it be wise to give him a new contract? With his current deal running out in the summer, Gouffran could end his Newcastle United career on a high and be well thought of by fans if he was to leave.
Returning to the top flight is bound to attract higher quality players and he is more than likely to have a squad player role if his stay on Tyneside is extended. It’s bound to divide fan opinion but Benitez will be left with the final call as he continues his project at the club.
Feature Image credit: Martin Le Roy