Massadio Haidara’s underwhelming Newcastle United career looks to be winding down, with reports in the Netherlands claiming FC Utrecht have an interest in the left back.
The then young left back debuted for the Magpies in February 2013, just days before St James’ Park cringingly celebrated French Day in a Premier League fixture against Southampton.
Haidara had signed for Newcastle in the same week as Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, shortly after the arrival of Mathieu Debuchy, with Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan having featured in the club’s impressive 2011-12 season.
Form had tailed off as Alan Pardew ill-advisedly tinkered with the team, but there was still optimism heading into the business end of the Europa League.
But, just under five years later, that remains Newcastle’s most recent European jaunt and Haidara is the last of the aforementioned French group still on Tyneside.
Cabaye’s departure had a negative impact on his compatriots, many of whom were far from popular by the time they left the club; Moussa Sissoko lost favour long before he joined Tottenham Hotspur.
Still, Haidara would feature towards the lower end of the list when ranking Newcastle’s French imports.
The 25-year-old has played only once in the league for Rafa Benitez – as a substitute on the final day of the Championship season – as he finds himself lodged firmly behind Paul Dummett in the pecking order.
Benitez is not the only manager not to have rated Haidara, though; in fact none of them have at Newcastle. Only twice has he managed more than five league starts in a season.
Lacking the quality required for the Premier League and signed to a position in which, with Davide Santon, the Magpies already boasted a handy option, Haidara represented all that was wrong with the club’s transfer blueprint when decisions were made by the board and not the manager.
Realistically, despite bizarre claims to the contrary from some supporters, Haidara has never been good enough and he will not be missed. It’s time for Newcastle to move on.