Jan 25 2013
New boy Yoan Gouffran is confident Newcastle's French connection can drag them out of relegation trouble.
The 26-year-old striker became the third player this month to swap Ligue 1 for the Barclays Premier League when he followed Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to St James' Park.
He was joined on Thursday evening by Nancy full-back Massadio Haidara and with hopes high of concluding a deal for Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko on Friday, Alan Pardew's squad has an increasingly Gallic flavour to it. He said: "Definitely. I think they will help us to make progress in the league."
With Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, who were part of the France squad at last summer's Euro 2012 finals, leading an already healthy contingent in the dressing room, Gouffran is confident the quality of those senior men will prove key.
He added: "They have got a lot of experience, they have already played a lot of games and I think they will help us to move up the Premier League."
Gouffran has already played at St James' Park - he was part of the Bordeaux side which lost 3-0 on Tyneside in the Europa League earlier this season - and the experience simply whetted his appetite.
He said: "When I played here with Bordeaux, the stadium was not even full, but the atmosphere was already fantastic. I can only imagine that when this stadium is at full capacity with the supporters really behind us, we are going to play really well.
"That's one of the reasons why I came here - I knew we had a fantastic stadium and an absolutely fantastic set of supporters. First of all to settle in well, secondly to show that I'm a good enough player to be able to play and handle myself in the Premier League and to score as many goals as I can."
Twenty-year-old Haidara revealed the club's determination to land him proved all the incentive he needed to move despite the Magpies' parlous Premier League situation.
He said: "It was the desire of the club to sign me up which was the most important factor. It was nothing to do with the league position. It was really all about the club's desire and willingness to sign me up. Also, I like the club's ambition to strengthen the whole team so we can improve our league position. That's what appealed to me, so I didn't hesitate."