Newcastle swoop for Haidara
Newcastle have completed the signing of French Under-21 international left-back Massadio Haidara from Nancy on a five-and-a-half-year deal.
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Haidara is the fourth new signing of the January transfer window by Alan Pardew - all of them French - joining compatriots Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa at the Magpies.
For Haidara, it will be a home from home and he told l'equipe.fr: "I feel like I'm in France.
"It's a Ligue 1 team in the English league.
"I haven't had the chance yet to meet everyone. Only Mapou (Yanga-Mbiwa) and Yoan (Gouffran). We crossed paths at the medical and we're in the same hotel.
"It's good, we're going to see each other regularly."
There are now 10 French players at the club and Haidara added: "Yes, that counted. I'm still very young, I need help. To go overseas, it's a bit like going into the unknown. That should help me to adapt."
Haidara leaves Nancy bottom of Ligue 1, with just one win all season, for 16th-placed Newcastle, who have taken just four points from the last eight games to leave them two points and two places off the relegation zone.
However, he believes the teams' plights cannot be compared, saying: "It's not the same struggle, we're not in the 'red zone'."
In fact, he insists he did not have to think about such things once he was aware of Newcastle's interest despite other clubs also making overtures.
"It's true that there was Fiorentina, Roma and Milan, but I wanted to play in the Premier League," he continued.
"It's the league that I was most attracted to, which corresponds best to my style of play. When Newcastle came in, I didn't hesitate."
Haidara has played for France at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level and, given the World Cup is looming in Brazil next year, it would be understandable if he felt the move to the north-east could improve his chances of forcing his way into the senior squad.
However, he is not looking beyond establishing himself at Newcastle.
"I'm going to try to adapt to the English game first, to earn a place in the team and make an impact.
"The ideal scenario, for me, would have been to leave in June and finish the season with Nancy.
"But given that it suited the directors and that it was a big club in for me, it doesn't bother me. Everyone is happy."
Pardew added: "Massadio is very highly thought of in France and he's somebody who our scouting team have been greatly impressed by.
"At the age of 20, he will only continue to get better, but he's already played a lot of games in his country's top division and represented France at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level.
"He's strong and quick and we're looking forward to seeing him develop here."