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Is This Newcastle United or France's National Team?
All four of the new signings this week have been plucked from “Ligue 1” and further enhance Newcastle’s rapidly French-speaking squad.
Added to the earlier arrival of Mathieu Debuchy, the four join Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Gabriel Obertan and Romain Amalfitano as French imports. Even Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote already speak French, meaning the sound of a Geordie (or even an English) accent bellowing across the pitch will be hard to come by in the coming months.
But is there such thing as signing too many players from one country in particular?
The key factor to consider here is the quality of the new players. All four were top players at their former clubs and in Haidara’s case, he was one of the most highly-rated players in the league.
Considering the amount of money Newcastle parted with in order to bring these players in, the business Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias have conducted has to go down in the “shrewd” category.
By signing Sissoko and Gouffran while they were in the final stages of their contract, Newcastle have saved a huge amount of money and brought the pair in for less than £5m. A similar deal was struck with Debuchy too, while Yanga-Mbiwa was the only arrival Newcastle paid top dollar for.
Criticism has been levelled at Newcastle for the lack of English players in their squad, but let’s take a look at the English equivalent of the players they have signed.
Debuchy is France’s first choice right-back and the England team’s equivalent is Glen Johnson, who would cost in excess of £10m to sign from Liverpool.
Yanga-Mbiwa is currently breaking into the France team much like Phil Jagielka is for England, and he would cost around £15m if he moved from Everton, so Newcastle cannot be blamed for looking elsewhere.
The list carries on, but the principal stays the same. There is nothing more that fans enjoy than watching English players make up the majority of their club, but in an age where home-grown players are so grossly overpriced, one cannot blame a club for looking abroad in search of value for money.