Newcastle set for bright future after these smart transfer additions:

Image for Newcastle set for bright future after these smart transfer additions:
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Villa ParkGoing into the January transfer window, it was clear Newcastle United’s squad was in need of a serious makeover.

After an injury-hit and generally dire first half of the season, the Magpies sat 15th in the Premier League, despite a magnificent fifth-placed finish last term.

Two morale-sapping defeats over the Christmas period to Manchester United and Arsenal left Alan Pardew’s side staring a relegation battle in the face, and investment from owner Mike Ashley was badly needed.

With hindsight, last summer’s decision not to build on the success of last season was a gamble which backfired badly on Ashley, with Vurnon Anita the only regular first-team player brought in.

Fans were sceptical heading into this month, whether the owner would provide the funds needed, and these fears grew further on just the second day of the year.

On the morning of Newcastle’s crucial home clash with Everton, it was announced the club’s top scorer Demba Ba had been given permission to speak to Chelsea.

Despite Papiss Cisse’s early goal, United lost that game 2-1 and then saw Ba complete his move to the European champions.

On the eve of Newcastle’s FA Cup game at Brighton and Hove Albion, right-back Mathieu Debuchy joined the club from French side Lille for £5.5million after a long-running transfer saga.

The deal could yet see Danny Simpson depart the club in the closing stages of the window, and it kick-started the Tyneside club’s winter recruitment drive.

More disappointment on the pitch was to follow, however, as an inexperienced side crashed meekly out of the FA Cup at Brighton and then followed that up with a goalless draw with Norwich City the following week.

Signings were badly needed in all areas of the team, and it appeared Newcastle had found the man to replace Demba Ba in Loic Remy of Marseille.

A fee of around £8million was agreed, and the Frenchman looked all set for a move to St James’ Park before Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers nipped in at the last and offered Remy more wages.

When the 26-year-old opted to move to Loftus Road, this transfer window was turning into a disaster for Pardew.

Captain Fabricio Coloccini made clear his desire to leave and return home to Argentina for personal reasons, and Newcastle once again looked set to implode.

A cataclysmic home defeat to fellow strugglers Reading – in which a section of the Tyneside crowd turned on the manager – made signings an absolute necessity.

Just when it appeared Newcastle were going to shoot themselves in the foot again and let another transfer window pass by, however, Ashley got his chequebook out as the squad had a French makeover.

Highly-rated defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa joined from Montpellier for £6.7million, kicking off a period of four French signings in as many days.

Forward Yoan Gouffran signed from Bordeaux on a cut-price deal, left-back Massadio Haidara was brought in from Nancy to provide competition for Davide Santon and then the Magpies pulled off arguably their biggest coup of the window.

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