After what feels like an eternity of underwhelming transfer windows, Newcastle’s much needed activity in the market appears to be kick-starting, and not a day too soon. Having seen their side slump to defeat against teams they brushed aside a lot easier last season, and having suffered the embarrassment of Loic Remy infamously and very publically turning them down for bottom club QPR and an inflated pay-package, the weekend saw Newcastle fans baying for blood at St. James Park.
The brunt of the criticism fell to Alan Pardew, whose substitutions baffled the fans (though he did subsequently explain them away as necessary solutions to injuries), but no small amount of venom was reserved for owner Mike Ashley, who has this season been branded a failure for the same transfer policy that saw his backroom team exhalted last season. The owner sits precariously on a fence, on one side derision and open hatred, and on the other, acceptance, and every mistake pushes him closer to the former.
But he seems to have learned from the season so far, and Newcastle appear to be investing heavily this winter.
And with it, Newcastle’s apparent obsession with French acquisitions seems to show no sign of abating, with one new French international already in the door in Mathieu Debuchy, and now no fewer than four new French signings lined up for the Toon.
So, who are these Magnifique Four potentially all heading through the door at St. James Park? We’ll start with the first move to be formally confirmed (albeit by his current club, and not the Magpies yet)…
4. Massadio Haidara
- Nationality: French
- Current Club: AS Nancy
- Position: Left-back
- Fee: £2.9m (according to The Chronicle)
First up is left-back, and highly-rated French prospect Massadio Haidara, who currently plays for bottom side AS Nancy and who has been suggested for some time as a solution to Newcastle’s need for added depth in defence.
Some fans might see the acquisition as a statement of intent to allow Italian full-back Davide Santon to leave, but it could well be that Alan Pardew sees Santon as a possible midfield option, thanks to his attacking prowess and his recently poor defensive performances, culminating in the positional disaster that lead to Reading’s first goal on Saturday.
Haidara is a more natural left-back, who would link up very well with Santon, if the Italian is indeed kept on and not sold back to Italy, and his acquisition is impressive given his rising stock in France.
The AS Nancy club web-site carried the following message earlier today…
After 46 matches and two and half years at AS Nancy, Massadio Haidara leaves the club for Newcastle United, currently 16th in the Premier League. The two clubs have reached an agreement and will finalise the transfer this Tuesday.
So it seems at least one of the three parties involved seems certain it’s a done deal.
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