NEWCASTLE United have answered Alan Pardew’s striker SOS with an £8.3million move for France international Loic Remy.
United agreed a fee with Marseille on Saturday evening and Remy jetted into Tyneside yesterday for a medical ahead of signing a five-year contract.
That medical could take longer than normal as Remy was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2010, although that did not stop him moving from Nice to Marseille.
Newcastle are confident there will be no problems with his personal terms and expect to unveil the striker as a United player tomorrow – which will give him time to prepare for the crunch weekend clash with Reading.
It could not come at a better time for Pardew and Newcastle, who struggled to open up Norwich on Saturday with only Papiss Cisse up front.
United’s striker hunt centred on finding a player they feel can operate successfully as part of a partnership with the Senegal international, who struggled to operate in tandem with the now-departed Demba Ba.
They believe Remy (right), who has grown impatient at a lack of starts for Marseille this season, can be that man.
He is 26, has been capped 17 times for France and has the physical presence which should make him a good foil for Cisse – who really struggled on Saturday.
Confirmation of the deal came from France, where first Joey Barton tweeted about the move and then Marseille president Vincent Labrune spoke to French media about it. It is for significantly less than the £10m often mentioned, with United having emerged as the most prominent suitors and having negotiated a deal in the region of £8m.
Labrune said: “We have an agreement in principle with Newcastle, it is true.
“We have given Loic permission to chat with them. For the rest, we must wait.”
That should not be a problem, with extensive homework already having been carried out by Newcastle.
Pardew intends to use them as a front two against Reading on Saturday and will look for a greater contribution from Cisse.
Speaking after the Norwich game, he admitted Cisse needs help.
Pardew said: “We need to get him more involved in the game. There wasn’t enough of him in the Norwich match.
“He was marshalled well if I’m honest, but he needs help.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t give him that. I thought he needed someone up there with him at times but I don’t have another striker I think is at the level they should be at this club.
“Of course, I’m hopeful of resolving that.”
The capture takes United’s French quota up to seven and Pardew anticipates the return of another France international by the end of January.
Hatem Ben Arfa will stay in France to recover from his hamstring injury for the foreseeable future, but Pardew put a date on his return for the first time on Saturday.
He added: “We think he has a chance for Spurs.”
It is a big week for Newcastle, who will hold talks with Fabricio Coloccini in the middle of this week to try to thrash out a resolution to his complex personal situation.
They also hope to make progress on their pursuit of Moussa Sissoko, who has been upgraded to a January target after Sunderland and Marseille emerged as potential rivals.
Coloccini’s future is an understandable priority.
The club believe they will be able to convince him to stay until at least the end of January, with further talks in the summer.
Pardew said: “We have a meeting this week and we’ll try to resolve it. Of course I think we can resolve it.
“Can he be here until after January? We hope so.”
One potential avenue for United – West Ham’s James Tomkins (below) – appeared to be shut off by Sam Allardyce over the weekend.