Alan Pardew has revealed that he is indebted to Arsene Wenger for giving him a route to French football which has galvanised his side this season.
The two managers have had a lot of trouble over the past few years, but the Newcastle man has warmed up to his French colleague and believes that Wenger is completely deserving of what he has achieved. The Gunners are currently second in the league, two points behind Manchester City but can go back on top if they can beat Newcastle at St James's Park on Sunday.
Pardew was quoted as berating Arsenal for their transfer policy seven years back when the Gunners had a lot of French players in their team and a dearth of British talent.
The north London club had the likes of Thierry henry, Patrick Vieira, Mathieu Flamini, Robert Pires and many others and were criticised for not honing local talent.
However, the tables have been turned completely and it is Pardew who is enjoying the presence of French players in his side, with the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Hatem ben Arfa and others keeping them in eighth place, one point behind Manchester United.
On the other hand, the Gunners have the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson in the side who are keeping the British flag afloat.
"I saw a headline saying Arsenal are flying the flag for Britain in the Champions League, but I had to wonder where that British involvement was when I saw the team. There was a big commotion when that first happened and it shouldn't be washed under the mat again," Pardew said in 2006.
"Every English club should carry at least three British players in the first team. The foreign players have added massively to our game, but the soul of the club is the homegrown players and they should be integrated into that team. It is important we don't lose sight that this is the English Premier League and English players should be involved. I know it is difficult to buy British players because the market is expensive," he added.
However, before the game, the Englishman has taken a complete U-turn and has thanked Wenger for showing him the way, which is reaping him benefits this season.
"We've introduced a lot of French players because of market forces. Arsène's first port of call when he arrived here was France, for the same reason. I'm disappointed not to have more British players in my team. I want more British players but I'm certainly not going to argue with our French contingent. They've been brilliant. It's a world [transfer] market now. Arsène maybe saw that before other managers; we owe him a bit of a debt," Pardew said at his press conference.