Saturday, 26th January, 2013
New Newcastle signing Massaido Haidara feels that the team he has joined feels very French, due to the amount of French players now at St. James’ Park.
Haidara signed on the dotted line for Alan Pardew’s men, making the switch from Nancy earlier in the week, and admits that the number of Frenchman at the Magpies played a part in convincing him to take the leap to the North East of England.
Newcastle already had a strong core of French-speaking players, while they added Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko, in addition to Haidara, this month.
And so, it is almost like never having left France.
Asked by French sports daily L’Equipe whether he really feels like he has moved abroad, the full-back said: "No, it’s like in France (laughs).
"This is a Ligue 1 team in the English league.
"I have not yet had the chance to meet everyone. Just Mapou and Yoan. I crossed paths with them at the medical and we are in the same hotel. So we will see each other regularly."
And the presence of so many Frenchman did help Haidara decide on the move.
"Yes, it counted", he said.
"I am still young. I need help. Going abroad, it’s like a little step into the unknown. Being here will help me adapt."
Haidara also revealed that he did have other options, with clubs from Italy keen on him, though he preferred to move to Newcastle.
"It is true that there was Fiorentina, Roma and Milan, but I wanted to play in the Premier League.
"This was the league that attracted me the most, which is closest to my style of play, and when Newcastle came I did not hesitate."
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