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Newcastle United have been linked to 24-year-old French midfielder William Vainqueur. The Sun reports Alan Pardew has been following the youngster for most of this season and that the Magpies' chief scout, Graham Carr is a big admirer of the Standard Liege star.

Alan Pardew

The Tyneside club have been on a spending spree so far this month, with as many as five new signings. The transfers of Massadio Haidara, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa have all been confirmed, as Pardew attempts to lift the club off the bottom half of the table and back into contention for European football next season.

Vainqueur has been rated at £3m and transferred to the Belgian club in 2011, from boyhood club Nantes in Ligue 2. The midfielder has made 45 league appearances for Liege since his transfer, scoring thrice.

Carr, meanwhile, has admitted the sudden influx of French players at St James' Park is inspired by Arsene Wenger and the success enjoyed by Arsenal in the past. The 63-year-old long-serving Gunners' manager has helped French footballers like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira achieve legendary status and has an enviable reputation for identifying and grooming young talent into top-class professionals.

"Our aim is to recruit young players for the future. We go to France because it's working. Arsenal had Henry, Vieira and Petit. At present, we know that we're still developing," Carr explained.

French Revolution at Newcastle Starts with Win

The Magpies' new signings were on hand to give Pardew a vital win at Villa Park. Newcastle rode on goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye to beat Aston Villa 2-1 and record their first away win of the season. Sissoko and Gouffran both started the match, with the latter creating the first goal and the former controlling the midfield very effectively.

The win means the Toon have moved to 24 points from as many games and are now four points clear of the relegation zone, following Wigan Athletic's 2-2 away draw at Stoke City. It also means the club can approach the three games to come with a degree of confidence. Newcastle face Chelsea and Tottenham in the first week of February, for Premier League fixtures, before entertaining Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv in the first leg of the first knock-out round of the 2013 UEFA Europa League.