The French know a thing or two about déjà-vu – that’s why they were happy to slap their language all over on the concept of getting the weird sensation you’ve seen this situation before. The Frenchiest follow-through to that feeling though is to stubbornly do every action exactly they way you did it before, mistakes and all, then shrug it off as fate, or tradition, or the poetry of existence or some such notion. Right now, André-Pierre Gignac is frantically shrugging his way through the second golden age of his career in a way that would make Marcel Proust weep with pride.
First, some context. Any nation that has had the privilege to birth a truly great player immediately sets off on a greedy quest to find another one just like him. Thousands of scouting reports over the years have been hastily prepared with ridiculous shorthand proclaiming some vaguely skilful lad the new Pelé, the new Maradona, the new Cruyff, or the new McFadden (let me have this). France have spent nearly a full decade locked in a forlorn search for the new Zidane – who was, of course, the new Platini once upon a time – with Samir Nasri, Yoann Gourcouff and, bizarrely, Bruno Cheyrou all being chewed up and spat out by an entire nation expecting greatness, receiving alrightness, and making its displeasure loudly known.
No less pressing for Les Blues though, has been the search for the new Thierry Henry – a need that has pressed with such ominous vigour that the search began even while Henry was still playing at a high level for club and country, stroking home goals for Barcelona and surreptitiously caressing assists for France…
You can read this article in full at The Football Ramble, an excellent website for an even excellenter podcast.