NEWCASTLE continued their Francophile January spending last night by signing left-back Massadio Haidara and closing in on a deal for midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
Haidara, 20, joins from Nancy on a five-and-a-half-year contract and will provide competition for Davide Santon, who has been linked with a move back to his native Italy.
Sissoko is set to swell the French ranks at St James’ Park further after his club Toulouse yesterday said the 23-year-old, capped six times, had agreed a move.
The Magpies have already lured Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Bordeaux forward Yoann Gouffran across the Channel this week, and signed right-back Mathieu Debuchy from Lille earlier this month.
Those arrivals take the number of French players in Alan Pardew’s squad to 11, with first-team regulars Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye the most prominent.
The other Frenchmen currently on Newcastle’s books are midfielders Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Romain Amalfitano and Mehdi Abeid.
Reading’s French forward Jimmy Kebe yesterday sparked confusion when he joked on Twitter that he was also on his way to the north east. But Kebe later wrote: “Oups [sic] i thought if you’re french and play football u just pop in to Newcastle and sign a contract.”