Five Ligue 1 stars Newcastle should be targeting this summer

The arrival of Steve McClaren at St James’ park looks to have ended Newcastle’s association with scouting and signing players from Ligue 1.

Newcastle have managed to tap into this forgotten market in recent years and capitalised on bargains and lower wages. This is displayed most notably with the acquisitions of Cabaye and Sissoko. The former costing just £3.5million before being sold to Paris Saint-Germain for £18 million.

Having already missed a trick in losing out to West Ham United in their pursuit of Dimitri Payet from Marseille, they can’t afford to miss out on anymore gems.

Taking into account the deficiencies in Newcastle’s squad, with McClaren recently quoted as only wanting players ‘who can improve the first team’.

Newcastle should be taking advantage of their well-used contacts to lure players to the North East.

Here are FIVE players they need to look at from Ligue 1…
[interaction id=“none”]

Clement Grenier – Olympique Lyonnais

Clement Grenier

This is a link that has refused to go away since Newcastle reportedly made a ‘substantial’ bid in January 2014.

Raised within the profitable Lyon youth system, Grenier is an imposing central midfielder who is very comfortable on the ball, sporting an impressive array of passing whilst unafraid to get shots off at goal having scored 12 goals in 93 appearances at Lyon.

Whilst highly rated, Lyon have developed other midfield talents including Jordan Ferri and Gueida Fofana which limited Grenier’s chances last season. Still only 24, Clement will need game time and would settle at Newcastle with his physique and calm demeanour.

With three years left on his current deal, Newcastle will need to shell out at least £7million for his services. But this could prove to be a snip as he looks to build upon his 5 French caps.

Nicolas N’Koulou – Olympique de Marseille

Marseille's Nicolas N'Koulou

Heavily linked with Monaco’s centre back Abdennour this summer, it is Nicolas N’Koulou that Newcastle should be gunning for. In desperate need of a solid centre back, N’Koulou possesses excellent decision making and a valuable calmness under pressure.

Having showcased these attributes under an erratic Bielsa last term, it is these qualities that Newcastle fans are crying out for after the team was culpable for panicked defending on many occasions last season. With a year remaining on his contract, it is the optimal time to swoop for the 62 capped Cameroonian international.

At 25, Nicolas could be a stalwart for the Magpie’s backline building upon his already impressive 200 top-flight appearances whilst at Monaco and Marseille.

Jordan Ayew – FC Lorient

Jordan Ayew

Thought to be keen to follow his brother Andre to the Premier League, Jordan would relish the fanatic support up at Newcastle.

Everton and Dortmund have registered interest with a deal done with Borussia muted by Lorient officials. Enigmatic, pacey with a flair for the outrageous, he would come with something that’s severely lacking within Newcastle’s current ranks – Fire.

His determination and bite would be fully appreciated at St James’ Park. He could offer options along the front three having scored 12 goals in 26 appearances for Lorient after being given a more central role.

Having a respectable eight goals in 28 caps for Ghana at 23 he could add goals that were glaringly missing for the Toon last season.

Wissam Ben Yedder – Toulouse FC

Wissam Ben Yedder

Here is a must have for Newcastle. Their aforementioned struggle for goals would be a forgotten nightmare if this magician got into his stride.

Having scored 30 goals and assisted a further 10 in his last two league campaigns for provincial club Toulouse, he is as happy creating as he is tapping home from four yards. At just 5”7, he can lead the line effectively but would suit the midfield runs of Colback and newly aquired Wijnaldum down to a tee.

Having been linked with ‘bigger’ clubs over the years, now is the moment to make a bid with just two years left on his contract.

Yoann Gourcuff – Free Agent

Yoann Gourcuff

Yoann is currently a free agent after being released by Lyon this summer. Likened by many to French legend Zinedine Zidane, pressure was put upon his young shoulders early on.

The weight of expectation has caused an unfortunate injury record with his best spell coming at Bordeaux almost six years ago.

He is looking for another chance to prove himself with more international caps still plausible for the 29 year old stylish attacking midfielder.

With a long line of talented attacking players having strutted their stuff at St James’ Park over the years, it could be a match made in heaven.

Given another chance, he could prove his worth and return to form that gifted Bordeaux 12 goals and 11 assists in 2008/09 Ligue 1 campaign.