Newcastle did excellently last season, and we finished 5th top in the Premier League, and at that time two of our very best players were Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa, two top French Internationals.
Moussa Sissoko – could become a top player at Newcastle
And they were such bargains that owner Mike Ashley brought in five new Frenchmen in January, maybe as many as four that were not planned until the simmer, and they were brought in early to help us strengthen the squad and steady the ship – but unfortunately it hasn’t worked.
But it’s also disingenuous to put the responsibility (blame) on any of our five new Frenchmen, who are not only trying to learn the language, but are trying to settle into a new country – and are at the same time getting used to the much higher standards of the English Premier League.
And the fact that Newcastle are surprisingly battling a real relegation threat – it’s got to be very difficult for our five new players – and we remember a certain Kevin Nolan, who had big problems in adapting at Newcastle, when he arrived four years ago.
And Kebin had played more than 300 Premier League games for Bolton Wanderers before he arrived on Tyneside – and think what a player Kevin turned out to be for us.
We have mentioned a few times that transferring in January is very difficult at the best of times, because you have no pre-season, and a number of the new Frenchmen – Debuchy, Sissoko, Yanga-Mbiwa and Gouffran – became immediate starters in the side.
It’s too easy to blame the new French players – whether or not they are truly responsible.
It’s probably going to be true that if we can avoid relegation, and have a good clear-out in the summer of some of our fringe players, and get a top class striker through the door, the French players that we have could well be at the forefront of Newcastle’s resurgence next season.
Don’t be surprised if in a year’s time, we’re in the same situation as we were twelve months ago – and fighting for a top four place.
That’s always assuming we are good enough to escape relegation this season – which is at the moment still a huge concern.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org