Newcastle United chief scout Graham Carr is delighted with the success of their French signings.
David Ginola apart, Newcastle have not enjoyed the best of fortunes when they have crossed the channel for players.
Carr told the People: “It’s easy to get to northern France because only 60 miles from Calais are three teams, Lille, Lens and Valenciennes, and you find that you can take in two or three matches with one visit.”
But it was in southern France that Carr and Newcastle picked up their first bargain in Ben Arfa, from Marseille.
Carr said: “Like Yohan Cabaye, Ben Arfa is a full French international and he is obviously a good player. We got a tip-off and we moved in quickly to get him first on loan.
“I’ve been watching Cabaye since he was 18. I liked him so much I asked Chris Hughton to come along with me when he was boss to watch him. But the asking price by Lille was then £10m, which was out of our reach.
“We heard he had a get-out clause and again that was all we needed.
“Then there is Sylvain Marveaux.
“We had been monitoring him for 10 months and we had a meeting on the Quayside in Newcastle and it was decided to go for him.”