• Alan Pardew also pursuing Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko
• Fabricio Coloccini expected to return to Argentina this month
Newcastle United were on the verge of a triple, possibly quadruple, transfer market breakthrough on Tuesday. Alan Pardew is hoping to import four new players from France in time for next Tuesday's crucial league match at Aston Villa and three of those deals should be finalised on Wednesday.
Whether Fabricio Coloccini will still be a Newcastle player next week remains unclear, however, as lawyers are now involved in the defender's attempts to extricate himself from his contract and return to Argentina.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, the Montpellier centre-half, completed a £7m move to Tyneside on Tuesday, as did Massadio Haïdara, the Nancy left-back who will cost around £2.5m.
Meanwhile, Bordeaux forward Yoan Gouffran was booked on a flight to Newcastle on Tuesday after a £1.3m fee was agreed with the Ligue 1 club for the 26-year old who is seen as a replacement for Demba Ba. The fee seems low for a player who has scored 10 goals in 22 games this season, but Gouffran's contract runs out this summer.
Moussa Sissoko, the much-admired Toulouse midfielder, is another man on Pardew's shopping list and he was left out of his club's squad for Wednesday's French Cup tie with Paris St-Germain amid reports in France that he was set for a switch to St James' Park.
More immediately, Yanga-Mbiwa's arrival may enable Coloccini to leave England and return to his former club San Lorenzo in Argentina. Difficulties in his personal life have left Pardew's captain and key central defender desperate to depart this month and his lawyers have spent two days trying to find a solution financially acceptable to the St James' Park board. While Newcastle would ideally like Coloccini to stay until May, his father, Osvaldo, said his son had become "very anxious", adding "I think it is time for him to come back to San Lorenzo."
Pardew was anxious to learn that Yanga-Mbiwa had attracted late interest from Arsenal and feared the worst when the defender failed to turn up for a medical on Monday. But the delay was caused merely by a flight cancelled due to snow; even if Newcastle could have done without some dismissive comments from the Montpellier president, Louis Nicollin. He told French reporters he did not think much of Yanga-Mbiwa's preferred destination. "If he's an ass it's not my fault," Nicollin said. "Newcastle isn't a really good choice but he'll get himself moved on next year."
Fortunately for Pardew, Yanga-Mbiwa saw things slightly differently. "This [England] is a country where everybody loves football and I really want to experience this culture," said the 23-year-old, who was born in the Central African Republic but brought up near Marseille. "It is one of the things you want to discover as a player."
Haïdara, a 20-year-old France Under-21 international, also completed a medical on Tyneside and can look forward to spending the remainder of the season understudying Davide Santon at left-back. Although Santon has been one of Pardew's better players this season, a lack of cover means the manager has been unable to offer the Italy left-back any rest. A statement on Nancy's official website said: "After 46 games and two-and-a-half years in the Nancy shirt, Massadio Haïdara is leaving for Newcastle United."