Florian Thauvin set for Lille stay
Newcastle United are set to be disappointed in their pursuit of Florian Thauvin unless they are prepared to pay €15 million after the Lille president stated he was "99.9%" certain the sought-after attacking midfielder would remain with the Ligue 1 club.
Loaned back to former side Bastia after agreeing to a four-year contract last January, Thauvin has yet to appear for Lille with the exciting prospect unhappy Rudi Garcia, who was the club's coach at the time he signed, has since been replaced by Rene Girard.
According to L'Equipe, the French Under-20 international is even prepared to skip training to force a move to his dream destination, Marseille, who have made little secret of their ambition of securing Thauvin's signature.
OM's initial offer of €5.5 million -- €2 million more than the fee Lille paid Bastia -- was rejected in June and followed by a strongly worded press release from Lille indicating the player was "untransferable". Unperturbed, Marseille followed that up with a €8 million offer last weekend, on top of which could be added up to €2 million in bonuses.
However, Lille president Michel Seydoux told RMC he "will not change" his position on the matter, insisting the player was all but certain to remain at the Grande Stade.
"Unfortunately I don't have a crystal ball, but yes I'm 99.9% sure," he said. "There's no reason for him to leave Lille. And the way in which things are happening have merely shown me I'm right. Now, if we give in to whatever kind of pressure, the power wouldn't be in the right place.
"He's making his own problems. I think his advisors are not the best in the world. It should be very simple, and it's a bit too complicated for me. The real victim is Florian Thauvin, who's not playing football."
He added: "It's troubling for him. He's hurting himself. Lille lived before Florian Thauvin and will live after Florian Thauvin. The question that needs asking is why the advice he's getting is so bad. We're in a normal world, he's not being exploited, he's in a rather good club with good ambitions. I think Florian has everything to gain in closing this chapter and putting on his boots."
Despite Seydoux's strong rhetoric, however, L'Equipe reported on Tuesday Lille have given an unnamed Belgian agent a mandate to either reconcile Thauvin into honouring his contract or find the player a new club.
France's main sports daily claimed Lille would accept a double-digit offer, but are loathe to accept OM's latest bid as they hold out for €15 million, a stance which has reportedly provoked the ire of Thauvin and has merely strengthened his determination to leave the 2010-11 French double winners.
After initially turning down Newcastle to remain within Ligue 1 last winter, Thauvin could be more receptive to the Magpies if Lille remain intransigent in the closing days of the transfer window, while OM are unlikely to match his club's asking price.