COMMENT by Amir Mir
Football Insider names the most improved player of the year for Newcastle in 2016.
Yoan Gouffran has gone from struggling to score a goal in the Premier League to becoming a match-winner in the Championship for Newcastle.
The 30-year-old failed to score a goal last term, but since the Magpies relegation from the top-flight in May, he has found the net on five occasions – including scoring the winning goal against Cardiff.
Under manager Rafa Benitez, Gouffran looks a much better player, more of a threat and now a valuable asset to the team.
He struggled to play a game for a side which was finding it difficult to win games in the Premier League, making just five appearances from January to May.
However, he has now transformed his game and is beginning to show supporters the skills and qualities he has to offer.
The Frenchman scored a magnificent volley for the north east club against Wolves in the EFL Cup in September, a show of confidence and skill, he would not have tried at the start of the year.
Overall, the former Ligue 1 player has scored five goals in 21 Championship and EFL Cup games, including supplying four assists.
As a result he has helped Benitez’ side sit top of the Championship table on 49 points from 22 games as they look destined for a return to the top tier.
However, supporters will be hoping the left winger can now transform these performances into the next calendar year.
In other Newcastle news, this senior player has made an admission over the toxic dressing room environment.