Now Yoan Gouffran has got to grips with English football he is becoming increasingly hard to ignore, says Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew.
The 27-year-old is on standby for only his second Premier League start of the season if Loic Remy fails to recover from a minor strain, but Pardew senses a momentum building which could soon see Gouffran starting matches on his own merits.
With Gouffran, Remy and Papiss Cisse having all scored in their last appearances, and the most in-form of them all Hatem Ben Arfa doing so against Fulham and Aston Villa, Pardew at last has the competition for places he wants up front for tonight’s televised trip to unbeaten Everton.
All Newcastle’s goals this season have come from the three-man forward lines he has deployed.
Gouffran continued that trend when he took advantage of a rare start to score in Wednesday’s League Cup win over Leeds United. Even when not on the scoresheet – he also netted from the bench at Villa Park this month – the Frenchman has tended to have a positive impact on most if not all of the games he has been involved with this season.
That was not always the case last when, after joining the relegation-threatened Magpies from Bordeaux mid-season, his form on the left-hand side of a front three was sporadic.
Pardew said: “You have to get used to the pace or demands of the Premier League.
“All four who came in in January have all done a lot better this season. They all look a lot more comfortable and that comes from settling down.
“Arsene Wenger, with his French players, used to give them 12 months to settle.
“Gouff in particular, is really knocking on the door.
“He is the one who right now, it is difficult to look him in the eye when he is not in the team because he really is that close.”
Newcastle signed five French players in January, but injury means Massadio Haidara is yet to be involved this season.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has capitalised on Steven Taylor’s opening-weekend red card to become an ever-present, establishing himself in his prefered position at centre-back after filling in on the left of the back four against Manchester City.
Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Debuchy have also started all five league games this season.
Modern Premier League managers tend to use the early rounds of the League Cup to promote competition in the squad, and in that respect Pardew achieved what he wanted from Wednesday’s win over the fallen Yorkshire giants - certainly at the business end of the field.
With Sammy Ameobi, who scored in the previous round at Morecambe, also advancing his case with a promising performance on the left wing and creative midfielder Sylvain Marveaux impressing from deeper, Pardew now feels he has the extra attacking options he was so keen for this summer.
Although Pardew was hoping for more than the signing of Remy on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers, further improvement has come from within.
A loan of his own at Championship Middlesbrough seems to have accelerated Ameobi’s progress, and Gouffran’s performances have forced others to respond.
Most importantly of all on Wednesday, Pardew’s No.9 Cisse scored his first goal for the club in April.
Had the Senegal striker not also found the net on Wednesday, he could have found himself the most vulnerable to Gouffran’s early-season form.