Premier League

Newcastle close in on Gouffran

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Tue, 22 Jan 2013 17:06:00

Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira believes the Spanish champions are back on the right track after a disappointing first half to the season.

Madrid lost four times in La Liga before Christmas - twice as many defeats as they suffered in the whole of last season - as they fell 18 points behind leaders Barcelona.

However, since the new year Jose Mourinho's men have won four of their five league and cup matches, drawing the other.

On Sunday they recorded a stunning 5-0 win over Valencia at the Mestalla to cut the gap to Barca back to 15 points following the Catalan club's defeat to Real Sociedad the previous day.

Germany international Khedira told reporters today: "We had a difficult situation, we weren't doing well, and we talked about it together and saw it was going badly.

"We've worked hard these past weeks and I think we're moving in the right direction. We're playing well, really tight, and I think it's going to give us future results."

Madrid face Valencia again tomorrow night in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final at the Mestalla, where the capital club defend a 2-0 lead from the first leg.

If Madrid get through then they could meet arch-rivals Barca in the semi-finals, but Khedira insists his side are not looking that far ahead.

"We have to focus on tomorrow's match and it doesn't matter if we'll play against Barcelona or Malaga," he said.

"We're in a good place and I think we can win and move on. We'll talk about it when we have our spot in the next round."

Gouffran could become part of a new French revolution sweeping Tyneside with Pardew also closing on deals to sign Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbwia and Nancy left-back Massadio Haidara.

The pacy forward has been with Bordeaux since 2008, signing for them for a fee in the region of ?6m from Caen, where he scored 34 goals in 115 appearances.

The former France U21 international has since scored another 30 goals in 133 outings for his current club, but he is available for a cut-price fee as his contract expires at the end of the season.

Newcastle reportedly placed an initial bid of ?750,000 for Gouffran, and were snubbed, but reports suggest they have come closer to their asking price of ?3m as they continue their search to replace Demba Ba.

Gouffran has previously been linked with a move to the Premier League with Arsenal, Sunderland and Everton.

Pardew has also been linked with a move for Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko, although that deal is more likely to be on a pre-contract to be finalised in time for the 2013-14 season.

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