Florian Lejeune signed for Newcastle United on Tuesday morning for a reported fee of £8.7 million.
The French central defender played for La Liga side Eibar last season, having been signed from English high flyers Manchester City back in 2016.
Many of the Newcastle fans – including myself – are not familiar with the Frenchman and have never seen him play.
The team at NUFC360 thought it would be a good idea to ask the experts over at EibarUSA to get a little insight into what we can expect from our new centre-back signing.
I interviewed Dwight – one of the board members over at EibarUSA – asking him a few questions regarding Lejeune :
Hi Dwight, thanks for sparing some time to answer a few questions for us. First of all, how do you think Lejeune will fare in NUFC’s team?
I think he has a good chance to be a starter. He will certainly push those three (Lascelles, Clark and Mbemba) with his defensive ability – he was arguably our best player last season. He rarely missed a game and has the style that should fit well with a lower to mid table Premier League team. He is not a guy to get forward, but would work well in a 4-4-1-1, system like Eibar and I believe NUFC play.
Will he be value for money (8.7m)?
I believe so, but with any signing, only time will tell. He has had a meteoric rise, in a sense. Premier League money seems to inflate a player’s value. But with Eibar’s finish (10th place), he is moving from a team that finished in the top half of La Liga and could be considered the cornerstone of Eibar’s defence – which could explain his high price tag.
What is the thing you’ll miss about Lejeune the most?
I believe we’ll miss his effort and leadership. When Ramis was injured, he led the defense with GK, Yoel. He did struggle against Barcelona with his lowest rating. But he averaged near 7 for rating and according to stats only had two key errors that led to goals. He was clearing balls off the line at times and gave 100 percent, in my opinion. He certainly played with heart, thats what i will miss from Lejeune.
Is he the kind of player that lets his head go down once his team has conceded a goal?
No, he will not let a bad goal get him down. As i said, Lejeune will give 100 percent until the final whistle – he showed a great attitude last season.
What kind of striker does he like to come up against?
He’s got some pace to him, even for 6′ 2”. He held his own with hold up players, and wasn’t afraid of physical play, which will suit him well in the English style of football. I think he is a well rounded defender – similar to the likes of Laurent Koscielny. He was a stay at home CB. So players getting behind him wasn’t an issue. It will depend on what Newcastle want him to do. Eibar’s defence was opened up with quick, short 1-2 and give and go passes and he was a part of that. So I guess he would have a preference to big, physical strikers and may struggle with a speedy offense similar to Arsenal.
How do you think he will manage the La Liga and Premier League transition?
Lejeune was vulnerable against the teams who moved the ball quickly, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona. As i said, they opened our defence with quick passes and teams like Manchester United and Chelsea could punish him – as they do to the worlds best centre backs. I’m sure Lejeune will manage the transition fine as long as he gets a good pre-season under his belt.
A note from EibarUSA.
I believe Lejeune will be a terrific signing for yourselves over in the North East of England. He deserves this big money move because of his perfect performances last season. We, as Eibar fans, wish him well in his move and hope for the best. Thank you Lejeune.
Thanks to Dwight from EibarUSA for answering these questions for us!
Give us your opinion on the signing of Florian Lejeune by tweeting @NUFC360!