Newcastle United appear to have finally gotten their man, adding to their growing french legion at St James Park. Rémy is due in Newcastle today for a medical ahead of signing for the club, following his £8 million move from Marseille. The French international striker, who joins compatriots Johann Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Mathieu Debuchy at Newcastle, has been tracked by Alan Pardew’s scouting team, led by Graham Carr for almost a year and have fought of the challenge of fellow Premiership club, Queens Park Rangers to land the 17 time capped forward. Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier confirmed the club had received an acceptable bid from Newcastle at the weekend and allowed the player’s agent to start negotiations, with the player likely to join after undergoing medical checks.
The medical may not be as straight forward as many suspect. Rémy has a heart defect that was identified during his medical when signing for Marseille that had previously been missed when the player moved from Lyon to Nice. The defect was flagged by Marseille who investigated further and sought cardiac specialists advice before clearing the player to join the club. Newcastle will undoubtably want to look into this further with their own people, well aware that they would want to protect themselves from a possible horror situation of the player collapsing or having to retire because of the defect. If they do go ahead, it won’t be the first time they have taken a risk with a player after signing Demba Ba from West Ham two summers ago. The Senegalese striker, who has just left the club to join Chelsea for £7.5 million, has a troublesome right knee that has blighted him during his career. Whilst at Hoffenheim, Stoke attempted to buy the powerful striker, agreeing a fee with the german club, only for the player to fail his medical due to his weak knee. Both West Ham and Newcastle both identified the weakness as well but pushed the signing through as they deemed the risk to be minimal. Rémy’s problem is more concerning but Newcastle are again likely to weight up the risks versus the advantages of signing the talented striker.
As a French internationalist, Rémy knows how to score which will delight the Newcastle faithful. Despite a poor start to this season with Marseille, where Rémy has scored only one strike in fourteen outings, the player has a history of goals to his name. With an average of 11 goals per season since the player started his career and four goals in 17 appearances for France, Rémy is a natural goalscorer and should act as a good strike partner for Papiss Cissé. Rémy is a tall but quick striker, who is as comfortable on the wing as he is as a central striker, but Pardew will likely learn from his mistakes with Ba and limit his new signings time on the flanks as much as possible. Former Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton, currently on loan at Marseille from QPR, has gone public on Twitter with his approval of the deal:
‘Good luck to Loïc in Newcastle. Don’t worry I’ve told him what to expect. Great guy. Perfect club for him”
If the player does pass his medical and signs for Newcastle in the next couple of days, it will come as a huge relief to Pardew who is desperate to bring in some new faces to turn around Newcastle’s season. With right back Debuchy onboard and Rémy expected to add options to his front line, Pardew will turn his attention to other areas of tha park, most notably central defence. A weak area at present, Newcastle have been rocked by the news that captain Fabricio Coloccini wants to leave during this January transfer window and return to his native Argentina for personal reasons. It is believed that Coloccini’s wife has become unsettled in the north of England and has left with the couple’s son to go back to Argentina and Fabricio needs to move to rejoin them. It’s unlikely that any club there will be any club in Argentina able to afford his wages or the transfer fee so Pardew will have a dilemma on his hands as he tries to hold on to his star player. Successful or not, he will still need to bring in additional centre backs with James Tomkins arrival from West Ham likely. But further additions will be needed, such as left back cover and an attacking midfielder to add options to the team sitting in 17th place in the league. If they can shore up their defence and Rémy can hit the ground running with goals, Newcastle will surely climb the league and challenge again for a place in Europe next season.