In my last blog, I posted about the current predicament Mike Ashley faced. Days later, he has answered the question on every Newcastle fan's lips by backing the under fire Pardew. Not by declaring it but by stumping up £18 million pound on 5 new French players. The north east hasn't had this many Frenchmen in town since the days of William the Conqueror; they must like it here though, as they haven't looted it and burnt everything in their path (I'm looking at you William).
In all seriousness, I must applaud Ashley and Llambias as they haven't pushed the panic button. It would of been far too easy to just relieve Pardew of his duties, instead they've got down to business, got the cheque book out and managed to get Graham Carr's long term targets over the channel and into a black and white shirt. The calibre of signings are impressive which is very surprising considering they have all been allowed to leave in the January window. Firstly they managed to acquire Mattheiu Debuchy. It has been well documented that Newcastle had been tracking him and Lille finally let him go at the start of January. This was due to Newcastle playing the waiting game, when Lille crashed out of the champions league, his valuation lowered and Newcastle were able to nab their man for a price they seemed content to pay. On a side note, I'm very happy for Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle bought his best friend and I don't think I've seen a picture of him where he isn't smiling!
Next up was Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Admittedly I don't know very much about the lad however the fact that Arsenal and AC Milan were interested signals the lad's talent. Then again, Arsenal did sign Maraoune Chamakh. I trust Graham Carr and he hasn't produced a dud yet. Hopefully we will see Yanga-Mbiwa play alongside Coloccini but that's another story altogether. We desperately needed a defender especially after the 2nd half horror show against Reading. If he was signed to play alongside Coloccini and not his replacement then we're finally showing ambition. He's a leader and is a ball playing centre back. Hopefully we'll no longer be known as 'le hoof'.
Out of nowhere the toon then signed two more players: Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara. It's unknown whether Gouffran is Ba's replacement however he adds more pace and hopefully more goals to our attack. Again the board must be praised due to the speed in which they've acted. Massadio Haidara is the least experienced of the signings yet that makes me more excited about him. He's highly rated and offers pace at left back. Hopefully he will be good competition for Santon who has been exciting offensively but frail defensively. His addition may mean Haidara plays left back, pushing Santon to the wing.
Finally, we brought in Moussa Sissoko. Now, this lad intrigues me. Any player who is described as the French 'Yaya Toure' should make anyone pay attention. Any lad who waives his signing on fee to push the deal through is one that should be applauded. And any lad who turns down the mackems should be knighted. (Don't worry Papiss I haven't forgotten about you!) He possesses pace, power and is the box to box midfielder we've been desperately lacking. This should hopefully take some of the emphasis of Cabaye and if both players shine at the same time, I believe that we could be a force to be reckoned spwith. Last season, although we won a lot of games, we rarely dominated. Hopefully, we can have a hold on them more and squeeze the opposition into submission, something Manchester United do all too often.
One thing I have had to do is remind myself of our league position. We're not out of the woods yet, Southampton are still higher than us. New signings don't mean points. Am I worried? Not as much. Am I excited? Yes I am. Following Newcastle isn't easy but as they say in France c'est la vie!