Wed 4 Oct 2023, 10:59 · NUFCFEED

Report: Newcastle United missed out on two French World Cup winners in the 2010s

Report: Newcastle United missed out on two French World Cup winners in the 2010s
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Once upon a time, Newcastle United's talent scouting predominantly took them to France, so much so that St. James’ Park hosted a rather naff French Day in 2014.

The era was marked by numerous French players making their way to the club, thanks in large part to the discerning eyes of Graham Carr, the Chief Scout at the time.

A number of French players flourished on Tyneside

With Alan Pardew at the managerial helm, Newcastle United boasted a roster of notable French players.

Key names like Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, and Moussa Sissoko not only showcased the best of French talent but were pivotal players for Newcastle, secured at relatively modest prices.

Carr, renowned for his knack for identifying talent on the continent, especially from France, was instrumental in many of these signings. His prowess didn't just help in getting top-tier talent but also ensured great deals, setting up eventually profitable exits, much to the delight of then-owner Mike Ashley.

Many more could have arrived at St. James' Park

However, it wasn't all hits and no misses. Some of Carr's French recommendations didn't see the light of day at Newcastle. Two standout names from this list are none other than Hugo Lloris and Raphaël Varane.

In a candid chat with Mark Douglas of iNews, Carr opened up about talents he had earmarked for Newcastle. A young 17-year-old centre-back from Lens named Raphael Varane was high on his list, alongside an emerging Hugo Lloris of Lyon, both of whom would go on to win the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

Carr had been so impressed that he vouched for both to then Managing Director, Derek Llambias.

However, Newcastle's typical hesitation of that era proved costly. Varane, instead of donning the famous black and white shirt, signed with the Spanish giants, Real Madrid, for a paltry £9 million just a year later, while Lloris ended up at Spurs for £12 million.

Those days are behind us now, thankfully, but what a squad Carr almost assembled at Gallowgate despite the constraints from above.