The January transfer window was a busy period for Newcastle United as Alan Pardew continued to reinforce his squad with players from the continent.
This included five French players, four of which have already made their first Premier League starts. With the Magpies now six points clear of the relegation zone, it is an opportune time to have a look at the influence that these signings have had on the team.
Newcastle signed Massadio Haidara left-back from the Ligue 1 club Nancy on January 24.
The 20-year-old has had an unlucky start to his career at the Magpies, having played only 32 league minutes after suffering a knee injury against Wigan.
This wing-back could be a useful substitute for players such as Davide Santon or Danny Simpson when he recovers. I’m looking forward to seeing this youngster continuing his Premier League career in the future.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was signed from Montpellier on January 22 for a fee believed to be £6.7m - Newcastle’s most expensive signing in January.
The centre-back made his first league start against Swansea at the beginning of March in the absence of Fabricio Coloccini. Unfortunately for the Magpies, Luke Moore snuck in a goal in the last five minutes to win the match. The 23-year-old has played in six Premier League matches now and has serious potential to be as devoted to defending as fellow centre-backs Coloccini and Steven Taylor.
Mathieu Debuchy, a long-term target, was Newcastle’s first signing of the January transfer window, arriving from Lille for a reported £5.5m.
The 27-year-old right-back has been the most used of all Newcastle’s French recruits, starting in nine matches.
When going forward, Debuchy has proved to be a real threat both with his dribbling and range of crossing, but it is at the back where he has had the greatest impact. The French international leads the Newcastle squad in tackles made per game, making an impressive 24 in his first six games after arriving at St James' Park.
Moussa Sissoko joined Newcastle from Toulouse for £2.5m. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder has scored three goals since joining Newcastle, making him their fourth highest goal scorer in the league this season alongside Hatem Ben Arfa.
In only seven appearances, Sissoko has managed to become an integral part of the team, averaging two key passes per game with a pass completion rate of 77.6%.
His highlight to date has unquestionably been his brace in last month’s 3-2 victory over Chelsea including a last-gasp winner.
Yoan Gouffran joined Newcastle for just over £1m from Bordeaux. The 26-year-old forward made his league debut against Aston Villa at the end of January and has adapted quickly to the team’s playing style, forging a menacing partnership with Sissoko, assisting two of his three goals.
Gouffran has recovered quickly following a shin injury picked up against Tottenham last month in a game that also saw him score his first goal for the club, making his return a fortnight later as a now fully established first-teamer.
Although he will need to add consistent goalscoring to his game following the departure of Demba Ba to Chelsea in January, he has shown the speed, skill and determination required to succeed in English football.
The impact that these players have truly had on the team will be judged at the end of the season and if Newcastle avoid relegation, as they should do, next season on Tyneside looks a very promising one indeed.
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