Vive la Revolution!

Posted by Marc Duffy

Ian Horrocks/Getty ImagesMassadio Haidara, Yoan Gouffran and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa are three of the new French arrivals to Newcastle.

Much has been made of Newcastle's policy of signing French players in this January transfer window with the arrival of five players from Ligue 1. The new boys, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara and Mathieu Debuchy take Newcastle's current French contingent up to ten.

- Toon French influx "following" Arsenal

Signing French players isn't an entirely new thing for Newcastle though, far from it. Over the years, Newcastle have fielded 24 Frenchmen (excluding players like Demba Ba and Mehdi Abeid who, although born in France, play for other countries). This number will rise to 25 sometime soon when Haidara gets a run out.

Frenchmen make up the overwhelming majority of the non-British or Irish players in Newcastle's history. Overall, Newcastle have done well out of French players too -- if you exclude the current squad members, the previous 15 Frenchmen cost the club a total of 34 million pounds and were sold on for a total of 33.2 million pounds. Between them they started 764 games with another 164 substitute appearances and have contributed 72 goals.

The most obvious benefit is value -- very good players for reasonable prices. Yes, in years gone by, the likes of Jean-Alain Boumsong arrived for ridiculous fees, but those days are long gone on Tyneside -- now we can watch top players such as Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko knowing that the total cost for all three of them (8.7 million pounds) is over 11 million pounds less than Liverpool paid for Jordan Henderson alone.

Where did this French Revolution begin? In July 1995 with the arrival of the best out of them all, David Ginola, from Paris St Germain for 2.5 million pounds.

Here is the French roll call of players who have played first team football (name, dates at club, starts, sub appearances in brackets, goals scored, fee paid, fee received. All fees are GBP):

David Ginola, July 1995 to July 1997, 71 (5), seven goals, 2.5m from PSG, 2m to Spurs

Stephane Guivarc'h, June 1998 to November 1998, 2 (2), one goal, 3.5m from Auxerre, 3.5m to Rangers

Laurent Charvet, July 1998 to October 2000, 49 (3), one goal, 0.5m from Chelsea, 1m to Manchester City

Didier Domi, December 1998 to January 2001, 55 (15), four goals, 4m from PSG, 4m to PSG

Louis Saha, January 1999 to May 1999, 6 (6), two goals, Loan from Metz

Alain Goma, June 1999 to March 2001, 40 (1), one goal, 4.7m from PSG, 4m to Fulham

Franck Dumas, July 1999 to January 2000, 7, 0.5m from Monaco, 1m to Marseille

Olivier Bernard, August 2000 to January 2005, 119 (26), six goals, Free from Lyon, 0.4m to Southampton

Laurent Robert, August 2001 to January 2006, 155 (26), 32 goals, 10m from PSG, Free to Portsmouth

Sylvain Distin, September 2001 to May 2002, 27 (8), Loan from PSG

Charles N'Zogbia, August 2004 to February 2009, 114 (40), nine goals, 0.25m from Le Havre, 6m to Wigan

Jean-Alain Boumsong, January 2005 to August 2006, 56 (3), 8m from Rangers, 3.3m to Juventus

Antoine Sibierski, August 2006 to June 2007, 25 (14), eight goals, free from Manchester City, free to Wigan

Sebastien Bassong, July 2008 to August 2009, 30 (4), 0.5m from Metz, 8m to Tottenham

Fabrice Pancrate, November 2009 to June 2010, 8 (11), one goal, free agent

Hatem Ben Arfa, August 2010 to present, 2m from Marseille

Yohan Cabaye, July 2011 to present, 4.5m from Lille

Sylvain Marveaux, July 2011 to present, free from Sochaux

Gabriel Obertan, August 2011 to present, 2m from Manchester United

Romain Amalfitano, May 2012 to present, free from Reims

Mathieu Debuchy, January 2013 to present, 5m from Lille

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, January 2013 to present, 6.7m from Montpelier

Yoan Gouffran, January 2013 to present, 1m from Bordeaux

Moussa Sissoko, January 2013 to present, 2.2m from Toulouse

What a great list of players! If I was to name my three favourite and least favourite from it, I'd go:

Favourites: 1. Ginola, 2. Robert, 3. Cabaye

Least favourites: 1. Boumsong, 2. Guivarc'h, 3. Charvet

You're all bound to disagree and have your own choices so let me know in the comments box below or on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

I'd also be interested to hear your thoughts, positive or negative, on Newcastle signing five French players in a single transfer window.

(Appearance stats and transfer fees taken from soccerbase.com)

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