The French defender is ready to finally make his mark on the English Premier League.
Central defence is critical for a club’s success, often acting as a cornerstone in building towards victories. With this thought in mind, the signing of centre-back Florian Lejeune is an exciting addition ahead of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.
The 26-year-old began his professional career in his native France with Istres, and has shown a remarkable progression with each stage of his path. Standing well over six feet tall, Lejeune has been able to utilise his physical attributes and put himself in the best possible positions to shut down the opposition.
He received his first taste of Spain in the summer of 2011, joining Villarreal. Lejeune spent much of his time with the Yellow Submarine’s reserve side and eventually moved to Girona three years later.
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His performances caught the eye of Manchester City, but Lejeune never made an appearance in England. City loaned Lejeune back to Girona, and he signed with SD Eibar last summer. It was with Los Armeros where he made his greatest impact, with an outstanding season helping the Basque club to a tenth-place finish in La Liga.
The Frenchman possesses excellent vision and positioning, to go along with accurate passing abilities. A positive debut in a friendly victory against Hearts was a good beginning. But Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez will likely get even more out of their new defender this season.
A weapon on set-pieces
Lejeune was signed for his defensive skills, but he can also contribute at the other end of the pitch as well. Thanks to his size and aerial abilities, the Magpies will now have a great advantage on set-piece situations.
Corner-kicks especially stand out, as the opposition will now have to account for Lejeune in the penalty area.
Alongside team captain Jamaal Lascelles, Benitez can now count on a back-line that is able to stifle an opponents’ attack often. Thanks to Lejeune’s addition, clearing out dangerous scoring opportunities should be easier.
The defender’s ability to re-direct crosses in the team’s own half and get high in the air to disrupt chances should be a regular sight this season for the Toon Army.
Newcastle’s climb back to the top of English football will need players who are ready to compete at the highest levels. Their new centre-back is up to that challenge after facing some of the world’s best sides last season.
Lejeune displayed great composure and determination against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with Eibar last term. This experience can also help younger team-mates within the Newcastle squad.
The Premier League season approaches, and Newcastle United will face strong attacks throughout the campaign. But with Florian Lejeune in the middle, they are certainly more prepared than ever.