LOIC Remy is set to seal a move to St James’s Park in the next 24 hours – and a defender is next on Newcastle United’s shopping list.
Remy was last night on his way to Tyneside after a £9million fee was agreed with French club Marseille.
The 26-year-old was due to discuss personal terms, agree on the length of contract and undergo a medical today.
Newcastle are also looking to sign a centre-half, and all efforts will be focused on that search should the France international commit his long-term future to the club.
Manager Alan Pardew would not be drawn on Newcastle’s pursuit of Remy and other targets after Saturday’s goalless draw at Norwich City.
But Pardew – who will hold talks with unsettled captain Fabricio Coloccini this week is – optimistic there will be more arrivals in this month’s transfer window.
“I think there have been some warmer signs from the players that we are approaching,” Pardew said.
“That has buoyed me as well as much as the result (at Norwich). We do need new players in here to give everybody a lift.
“The board are very aggressive in trying to do that. All power to them.”
Marseille president Vicent Labrune confirmed yesterday that the two clubs had reached “an agreement in principle” for the transfer of Remy.
And Remy’s club-mate Joey Barton, on loan at the Stade Velodrome from Queens Park Rangers, wished him the best of luck on social networking site Twitter.
The former United midfielder tweeted: “Good luck to Loic in Newcastle. Don’t worry i’ve told him what to expect. Great guy. Perfect club for him.”
Remy said goodbye to his Marseille colleagues before last night’s Ligue 1 game at Sochaux.
Meanwhile, Pardew hopes that the point Newcastle took from Norwich, the arrivals of Remy and full-back Mathieu Debuchy, and the return of players from injury, will mark a turning point in the relegation-threatened club’s season.
“I think so, and I hope so,” said Pardew, whose side face Reading at St James’s Park on Saturday.
“But it’ll only be a turning point of we beat Reading and get something at Villa (on January 29). I think we can do that.”
Coloccini wants to return to his native Argentina because of what has been described by his agent as a “personal matter”.
The defender, who signed a new four-year contract late last season, is wanted by Argentinian club San Lorenzo, who will sign him if his Newcastle contract is “rescinded”.
Newcastle’s travelling fans chanted Coloccini’s name at Carrow Road, and Pardew said: “He played very well, and the love from the fans is important for any player, particularly where we are right now. That can’t do anything but help us.”
Pardew, however, wouldn’t be drawn on reasons behind Coloccini’s desire to leave, though it is understood his wife is ill and has returned to Argentina.
“All I’ll say is we’re keeping that internal at this time,” said Pardew.
“There’s been a lot written – most of it rubbish. I’ll speak to him this week, and hopefully come to a resolution.”
Newcastle, understandably, are unwilling to simply rip up Coloccini’s contract and watch him join San Lorenzo, who don’t have the finances to pay a fee for him.
Pardew was full of praise for Coloccini’s performance in the Carrow Road clean sheet, with United having been far more convincing, defensively, than of late, though they were limited in their attacking ambitions.
“He is an important player in terms of calmness and assurance,” said Pardew. “I thought we looked like we did last year, if I’m honest. We got beat at Norwich last year, and we had no centre-halves. We had a balanced team this time. You’d like to have a bit a more offensive play.
“Nevertheless, we can say from where we have been recently it’s a massive step forward.”