LAURENT Robert is eyeing a return to Newcastle United – and has told new boy Fabrice Pancrate to put his case to boss Chris Hughton.
The left winger is a free agent following his release from Greek top flight side Larissa FC and has been training with Pancrate’s former club Paris Saint Germain in a bid to find a new club.
He has been quoted as saying he would play for free at Paris SG but Pancrate’s move to St James’ Park has led to the 34-year-old seeking to make contact with Hughton over the possibility of a return to the North East.
After signing his own permanent deal Pancrate gave the United boss Robert’s phone number – and says the winger would love to talk about a return to the club he left under a cloud in 2005. The ball is now in Hughton’s court.
Speaking through an interpreter Pancrate said: “I had a lot of conversations with Laurent and he told me about how amazing this city was, how incredible the fans are and how much I would enjoy my time here.
“As soon as I walked through the doors I realised he was right.
“I think Laurent is in talks with Paris St Germain at the moment, but he told me that he would like to come back here.
“If it could happen he would say yes. That’s what he said to me. He loves the club.
“I spoke to the manager to tell him Laurent would like to come back and is available. I gave him his number. I don’t know what has happened since then.”
Hughton already has Jonas Gutierrez as an attacking option wide on the left and has used Peter Lovenkrands in that position – although the Dane has made it clear he would prefer to play up front.
Other than Kazenga Lualua, United are pretty short on senior men who are considered genuine wide men – something that Robert most certainly is.
Although an occasionally infuriating presence, Robert blossomed under the tutelage of Sir Bobby Robson and scored some stunning goals.
A bust-up with Graeme Souness effectively ended his time at United.
Meanwhile, Pancrate says that he wants to become the latest French favourite at St James’ Park – following in the footsteps of David Ginola and Robert.
If Pancrate can make even a fraction of the impact that pair did, the gamble of handing him a contract until the end of the season will have been worth it.
“I knew of the club in France. There was a big French connection with Newcastle and that made it a lot easier for me,” he said.
“I feel like there is a great relation ship between Newcastle and French players.
“We all know about David Ginola and Laurent Robert, but there have also been many others.
“That made it an easy decision when I was offered a contract.
“I was delighted to earn the contract – I decided I wanted to play in England at the end of last season. I didn’t realise how hard it would be to get in.
“I trained hard with my ultimate goal of playing in England. I was working towards an opportunity like I got with Newcastle and I’m delighted it arrived.”
The 29-year-old admits he was astounded at the reaction of the crowd when he made his debut, saying they inspired his mad dash for the ball within seconds of joining the action.
“As soon as I came on I was surprised by the sheer noise of the crowd and it gave me a lift,” he said.
“I was running around like a mad man at the start. It gave me a push to work hard in front of them. It felt like I was being lifted by the crowd.
“I wanted to impress them from the first moment. It was magnificent. I loved every minute of it.”