Gouffran aiming high on Tyneside
Yoan Gouffran embarked upon his Newcastle career confident relegation is not on the agenda.
- Related Content
The 26-year-old striker signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at St James' Park after completing a move for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £1.4million, from Bordeaux.
He arrived with the Magpies sitting just two points clear of the bottom three and facing a six-pointer at fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Tuesday evening.
However, Gouffran, Alan Pardew's third January signing after compatriots Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - he was tonight followed through the door by a fourth in the shape of 20-year-old Nancy full-back Massadio Haidara - is not at all concerned that that situation will persist.
"I am not worried at all," Gouffran said. "I know the players who play here at Newcastle already. They are fantastic players.
"Newcastle isn't in the position it should be in the league. Whether it's myself or the other players in the team, we are going to try our utmost to make sure we can climb up the league to where we should be.
"I think with the players Newcastle have, we can realistically be aiming to finish at least in the top eight."
Gouffran's recruitment addressed one of the more pressing issues facing Pardew this month following the departure of leading scorer Demba Ba for Chelsea.
The Magpies have scored just twice in the four games since Ba left for Stamford Bridge and, with Papiss Cisse struggling for form, greater potency was a must as the manager drew up his wish-list.
Having seen QPR counterpart Harry Redknapp gazump him to land first-choice Loic Remy, Pardew will be relieved to have finally got a body in, and the newcomer is confident he can be a hit on Tyneside.
Asked what qualities he will bring to the club, Gouffran said: "Speed. I am fast and I score goals."
Ba's return of 29 goals in his 18 months at St James' will be a hard act to follow, but the Frenchman is far from daunted by the task of attempting to follow in his footsteps and form a partnership with Cisse.
He said: "There's not really any added pressure. Yes, I am an attacker, yes, I want to score goals, but we both have different styles of play.
"I don't really think it's fair to draw any comparisons between both of us. Each player has his own style. Each to his own.
"Papiss Cisse and I played against each other when he was at Metz in France and he is someone who has really made a lot of progress here at Newcastle and he has scored some great goals.
"I had a chat with him this morning for the first time. We get on really well. He's a great guy and I have no worries that we can definitely play together well."
The arrival of France Under-21 international Haidara, who has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal, came as a further boost to Pardew.
Pardew said: "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 are looking forward to seeing him develop here."
Haidara added: "It was the desire of the club to sign me up which was the most important factor.
"It was nothing to do with the league position. It was really all about the club's desire and willingness to sign me up.
"Also, I like the club's ambition to strengthen the whole team so we can improve our league position. That's what appealed to me, so I didn't hesitate."
Newcastle's spending spree is unlikely to end just yet, with Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko due in the north east tomorrow to tie up his move after his current employers confirmed that a deal has been agreed.
A statement from Toulouse read: "He has reached agreement with Newcastle for a permanent transfer that takes effect today."
As well as the new additions, Pardew is desperate to hold onto skipper Fabricio Coloccini despite the 31-year-old's intention to return to South America because of a personal problem.
Coloccini trained this morning amid claims he was ready to down tools and not play for the club again, but having resisted attempts by his representatives to free him from his contract, the Magpies are still hoping to retain his services for the time being at least.