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Yoan Gouffran wants to be better than Demba Ba

YOAN Gouffran sauntered confidently into the St James’ Park media room yesterday evening and declared he will score as many goals for Newcastle United as Demba Ba.

YOAN Gouffran sauntered confidently into the St James’ Park media room yesterday evening and declared he will score as many goals for Newcastle United as Demba Ba.

If the 26-year-old lives up to his own billing, and his CV certainly suggests he’s a player capable of exciting the supporters, then the club may have landed a bargain for a fee of £1.3m.

Gouffran carried the air of a supremely confident man yesterday as he answered questions with the help of an interpreter.

Of all the signings Newcastle have made or are about to make this month, the former Bordeaux man is the one most likely to at first be used as a substitute.

Not that 40 goals from 179 appearances for les Girondins is anything to sniff at, but it’s not quite at a level you would describe as prolific. However, when asked whether he could replicate the form of Ba (pictured below), whose ratio was better than a goal every two games, he didn’t hesitate to put forward his case to be the team’s new goalscoring hero.

Gouffran said: “Can I score as many as Demba Ba? Yes.

“I’m a centre-forward. I have proven that I can score goals in France.

“It will be different in the Premier League and it is up to me to make sure I go on the pitch and score, and do everything I can to succeed in the Premier League and in different country.”

And he added: “Being compared to Ba does not put more pressure on me.

“Yes, I’m an attacker, and yes I want to score goals. But we both have different styles of play. What are my big assets? Speed. I’m fast and I score goals.”

It would be wrong to give the impression that he was utterly full of himself as he admitted his primary ambition was to show he could cut it at this level.

Gouffran said: “First of all, I want to settle in well, and secondly to show I am a good enough player to handle the Premier league; to score as many goals as I can.”

It was also encouraging to hear that he is able to play in different positions along the frontline. While there have been many changes made over the past two weeks, it’s difficult to see Alan Pardew tinkering too much with his formation.

As we stand, Newcastle will go with either a three-man attack, with Papiss Cissé in the middle, or a 4-2-3-1 from now on in.

Gouffran said: “My main position is centre-forward, but I can play to the side or behind a striker if I have to, I can adapt my style of play if that is what is needed.

“Papiss and I played against each other when he was at Metz. He has made a lot of progress at Newcastle. He has scored some great goals.

“I had a chat with him this morning and we got on well. He is a great guy and I have no worries that we can get on really well and be able to play together.”

It will come as no surprise that there were a number of familiar faces waiting for Gouffran when he said his hellos yesterday morning at the training ground.

Not that every French footballer knows one another. It’s more that every one of them are on Tyneside!

He said: “I am a good friend of Yohan Cabaye. I have spoken with him, but not solely about Newcastle. I also know Hatem Ben Arfa.

“We played together for the French Under-21s. He can change a game at any time and hopefully I can play alongside him very soon. The reason I decided to sign for Newcastle is because it is a massive club.

“As soon as I was contacted by Newcastle there was no hesitation in signing here. I spoke with the manager when I had my medical and he told me how he wants to use me.

“It was the club, Newcastle itself, not necessarily the French players, that made me want to sign. It is true there are a fair number of French players at Newcastle – who knows if others will join? I’m sure they will be delighted to welcome anyone.

“I am not worried at all. I know the players that play here already. They are fantastic players.

“Newcastle should not be in the position they are in the league, so we are going to try our utmost to get us up to where we should belong in the league.

“I think with the players that Newcastle have we can realistically be aiming for the top eight.”

Pardew revealed on Wednesday night, when the deal with Gouffran was completed, the player caught his eye when he impressed against Newcastle in the Europa League.

And the player himself was pretty impressed with his first visit to the city.

Gouffran said: “When I played at St James’ Park with Bordeaux, the stadium was not full but the atmosphere was fantastic. I can only imagine with the stadium full, what it is like to play in front of. I’m sure it will help us to climb up the league.

“It’s definitely a different culture, a different way of living, but that is something I wanted. Now I just need to learn the English language and to be able to answer all of your questions in English.”

Score ten goals between now and May and Gouffran can speak in any dialect or language he likes.

 

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