The recruitment drive at Newcastle United continued at breakneck speed this week, with striker Emmanuel Riviere the latest new face at St. James’ Park.
In a department that needed overhauling following a number of departures this summer, the Frenchman’s arrival has been greeted with understandable optimism.
And following confirmation of his move from AS Monaco, the big question doing the rounds on Tyneside surrounds where he will fit into Alan Pardew’s starting XI.
Used predominantly as a forward throughout his career so far, the 24-year-old is renowned for his pace, and he could be utilised in a number of positions by the Magpies.
As an out-and-out frontman, Riviere’s record is respectable. At the Stade Louis II last season, a return of 10 goals in Ligue 1 made him the club’s top scorer ahead of World Cup star James Rodriguez and £50 million man Radamel Falcao.
Throw in the fact he only started 19 games, and the figures look even more impressive, but can that consistency be applied to the challenging surroundings of the Premier League?
With Papiss Cisse the only other senior striker on the Toon’s books at present—and with a knee injury hampering his pre-season— Riviere’s place in Pardew’s attack looks assured.
But should United move to bring in additional firepower between now and the end of August, his considerable speed and athleticism could shift him to either flank as part of a front three.
Depending on his manager’s boldness, a central role for fellow new-boy Siem De Jong—backed up by the security of two holding midfielders—could provide the perfect ammunition.
And with Remy Cabella’s trickery and flair offsetting Riviere’s physical approach, the goals could flow for whoever fills the No. 9 role once next season gets under way.
In a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation, the former France under-21 international would need considerable help, though De Jong is no stranger to providing such supportive duties.
Whatever position he is handed, the former Saint-Etienne and Toulouse man is brimming with confidence following his £6 million switch from the Cote d’Azur principality.
Speaking to nufcTV, the club’s online television channel, Riviere said:
I am a striker who is fast and strong, and I score goals. I think my characteristics are good for the Premier League.
I love space to run and tire out defenders, and I work for the team. I want to adapt quickly to the Premier League because it is not Ligue 1. They are very different.