Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's raining (French)men, hallelujah, it's raining (French)men

"If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the French team." That seems to be our motto at present.

There's no doubt whatsoever that we have a problem - an increasingly serious one, following the latest abysmal defeat (this time to Reading on Saturday - Paul's report to follow). Whether anyone else could help is open to debate, but we appear to have identified our Gallic friends across the Channel as the solution.

Before the transfer window opened, HBA, Sylvain Marveaux, Obertan Kenobi and Dreamboat were already on our books - the latter making an encouraging goalscoring return from injury against the Royals until being withdrawn with another knock - and since the start of January we've already picked up another Frenchman, right-back Mathieu Debuchy.

Now we're looking to strengthen our woeful and possibly soon-to-be-Sideshow-Bob-less defence with a couple of their compatriots. Despite rumours that Montpellier centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa had done a Remy, failing to turn up for the medical in preference for a move to London, it's now been confirmed we've got the deal over the line. The 23-year-old - who, like Dreamboat, captained his club to the Ligue 1 title in his last full season in France - has cost just short of £7m. A small price to pay if it means we no longer have to witness Mike Williamson's defending masterclass - though with French central defenders, there's always the nagging feeling that they might turn out to be another Jean-Alain Boumsong...

Also close to signing is Nancy's Massadio Haidara, a 20-year-old left-back who, while not a full French international, has represented his country at lower levels. Debuchy is now without doubt our first-choice right-back, so that would leave Davide Santon to battle it out with Haidara for the opposite flank. Given that the Italian has been one of the only players to emerge from the car crash that this season's become with anything remotely approaching credit, it would be harsh if Haidara was to stroll straight past him into the first team. That said, he has looked due a long overdue breather of late.

And finally, lest it be suspected that we'd decided to focus firmly on the defence, forgetting about our deficiencies at the other end of the pitch (and in particular the need to replace Demba Ba), we're also on the verge of bringing in Bordeaux forward Yoan Gouffran. The 26-year-old took to Twitter to announce that he'll be signing in the morning. He has 14 goals to his name thus far this season, many more than a certain money-grabbing QPR striker, and is also rumoured to have been available at a cut-price fee. That said, I'm not sure I'm happy about us recruiting a footballer who's allergic to grass. Here's hoping he's less of a maverick liability than his fellow sufferer Mario Balotelli...

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