Newcastle United shopping for players in France has become a thing of regularity over the last few years. With the addition of players like Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Amalfitano and Gouffran, Pardew has looked across the channel to strengthen his squad.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Newcastle has reported interest in further dealings with French clubs this summer. The main target in a report in the Metro is AS Saint-Etienne's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Further evidence of a continued French revolution at Newcastle was given by Managing Director Derek Llambias in the following excerpt from Journallive.co.uk:
“There are still targets in France, by the way. We haven’t finished with the French market,”
The Metro article points out the belief that Aubameyang is the main target left in France, and discusses reports that Newcastle failed in a late bid for Aubameyang's services. The reports of a bid lodged by Newcastle and others was also the subject of an ESPN FC report.
Newcastle's interest in Aubameyang is understandable. He has played well on the international stage for Gabon, and his past two years with Saint-Etienne have made for an impressive resume.
Aubameyang's strength lies in his pace. His ability to run by defenders can be utilized in any system.
Aubameyang is very adept at using his speed to beat offside traps and defenses playing a high line. His tremendous pace gets him space to work, but it is not his only attribute.
The Saint-Etienne striker has worked hard the last few seasons on his touch and finishing. He can beat defenders one on one with the ball and has become more consistent in getting his attempts on frame.
The former AC Milan player is also an on the field entertainer. He has celebrated goals with use of a spiderman mask and donned jewel encrusted boots for a match against Lyon.
If there is any glaring weakness to his game, it is his lack of strength. With his slender build, Aubameyang does not have the frame to aid in dealing with physical defenders. While he has seen his share of physical play in Ligue 1, the physicality of the EPL will be a challenge for him.
Even with this weakness, Aubameyang has shown improvement in his technique in dealing with physical play. Aubameyang has learned to use his speed and agility to create space from defenders who try and body him up.
Aubameyang is not yet a finished product, but his foundation of skills and potential make him a viable Premier League target. If Newcastle are able to secure his services this summer, he projects to be a top end scorer down the road.