Newcastle have been busy in the transfer market this week, with as many as four new signings ready to sign for the Magpies by the time Alan Pardew’s side take on Aston Villa in seven days time.

Predictably, all the new arrivals are from the French league and bring much-needed depth to key areas of Newcastle’s wafer-thin squad.

Montpellier Captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is the most eye-catching of the bunch and signs for a fee reported to be around £6.7m. 23 years old, the France international was courted by a number of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, but has chosen Newcastle and is currently in the North-East for a medical.

It remains to be seen whether Yanga-Mbiwa is a replacement or a partner for Fabricio Coloccini, whose future was discussed on Monday with no concrete developments. Sources believe the new arrival will be paid £60,000 per week – a similar amount to Coloccini – therefore suggesting a return to native Argentina could be on the cards for the former Deportivo centre-back.

Similar in size and stature to Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa is athletic, quick across the ground and excellent at reading the game. The fact that he was made Montpellier captain at the tender age of 23 shows the potential that the 6’0” defender possesses. Capped three times by France already, Yanga-Mbiwa is one of the top talents in the country and Newcastle have surely pulled off a steal for such a low price.

The deal has clearly angered Montpellier president Louis Nicollin, who has branded Yanga-Mbiwa “an ass” for choosing to join Newcastle and said: “Newcastle are really not a good choice, he will ask to transfer in the next year”. Sounds like sour grapes to me, with Nicollin clearly unimpressed at having to watch his star defender fly across the channel to pull on a black and white shirt.

The second of the deals is Nancy left-back Massadio Haidara, who is also undergoing a medical on Tyneside. A promising 20-year-old, Haidara is clearly one of the gems picked from Ligue 1 by chief scout Graham Carr. Haidara loves to attack and has also been seen on the left of midfield, providing crosses for strikers and running comfortably with the ball.

A fee of £2.5m was reportedly enough to secure Haidara’s signature and he is believed to be signing a five-year deal.
It would surprise me if Haidara became a regular starter this season, as Davide Santon has the left-back position nailed down and Haidara will likely provide cover for the Italian. The arrival of the Frenchman could speed up Danny Simpson’s departure from St James’ Park, as the former Manchester United man continues to be linked with West Ham and Fulham as his contract runs down.

The third deal that could be completed shortly is long-term attacking target Yoan Gouffran. The Bordeaux striker has just six months remaining on his contract and a fee of £1.5m is enough to prise him away from Newcastle’s former Europa League opponents.

Capable of playing as a striker or on either side of a front three, Gouffran has enjoyed a fruitful spell in France, scoring 14 goals last season and netting eight times so far this term. The cut-price deal is almost definitely why Newcastle are keen to go for their man, as better targets are available but at a much higher cost. For example, Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis was originally mentioned, but with Gomis’ price likely to be around £10m, the financial sense that Gouffran’s deal makes swings the momentum in favour of the 26-year-old.

A fourth deal could be completed by the time Newcastle kick off against Aston Villa too, although this one is slightly further away than the three that have been mentioned.

Moussa Sissoko – Toulouse’s combative box-to-box midfielder – is thought to favour a move to Newcastle after Queens Park Rangers were rumoured to be interested. Sissoko is out of contract in the summer and that has led to the Toulouse hierarchy wanting to cash in on their man now, rather than lose him for nothing in the summer.

The 22-year old’s playing style and athletic build has led to some believing Sissoko is the “new Patrick Vieira” as he is capable of playing in either attacking or defensive roles in midfield and the fee of £5m is a steal for a player who would be worth over twice as much if Newcastle had wanted to sign him whilst under contract.

The main decision is whether Sissoko would sign now or in the summer, with Toulouse wanting to keep their man for the remainder of the season and allow him to sign a pre-contract agreement with Newcastle, but the Magpies prepared to pay slightly more and sign him now.