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24/01/2013 - 02:27 BST

Newcastle Must Beware French Clique Forming Warns Former Sunderland Star Steed Malbranque

Thursday, 24th January, 2013

Former Sunderland and current Lyon midfield schemer Steed Malbranque has warned Newcastle against a French clique developing at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle have increased the pace of their recruitment from France during the current window, with real intensity, snapping up Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from Montpellier, Mathieu Debuchy from Lille, Yoan Gouffran from Bordeaux, while Massaido Haidara is set to arrive from Nancy, and Moussa Sissoko could also land, from Toulouse.

They join French speakers Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Romain Amalfitano, Cheick Tiote, Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux at the club.

And Malbranque, who played in England with Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, believes there is the risk of a split developing in manager Alan Pardew’s dressing room.

"When there are a lot of French players, like this, one has to be careful not to create any cliques", the midfielder told a press conference, before reflecting upon his own experience at Craven Cottage.

"This can create certain tensions.

"At Fulham, [Jean] Tigana asked us French to speak English to one another in order to show ones willingness to integrate into the culture."

Newcastle have enjoyed success picking up French-speaking players and finished a lofty fifth in the Premier League last season.

During the current campaign however they are battling against the drop, following a series of poor results and a failure to really kick-start their season.

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