The price to save a season looked remarkably cheap on Saturday night, by which time Moussa Sissoko had made an early mark on the hearts of Newcastle supporters.
Alan Pardew called the powerful midfielder "a force of football". It was a nice soundbite from a manager trying hard not to find one. Keeping a lid on the wildly varying emotions of Tyneside is a job in itself, but his phrase hit the spot.
Sissoko was the player for whom owner Mike Ashley found £1.8m to sign six months early, Pardew revealed following a victory against Chelsea that spurred a city into life, for its bravery, for its endeavour, for its spirit.
Those are themes Newcastle fans warm to. They did on Saturday, when Sissoko was outstanding, and where fellow home debutant Yoan Gouffran's work-rate was exemplary. He cost £800,000.
Sissoko was supposed to be signed in the summer, when his contract at Toulouse would have run down, but Ashley was at the home defeat to Reading (he has not been a regular at St James's Park this season) and he saw enough then to realise the red lights were flashing for a squad that was on its knees. The deal was hurried up. Toulouse made nearly £2m they would not have if the transfer had not happened until the summer. Newcastle signed a player who was valued at £16m two years ago. They were privately delighted when he joined. On Saturday people saw why.
"I'm very happy, it was a brilliant afternoon for us," Sissoko said. "The public supported me 100 per cent all the way through. Each match I play in I try to give 100 per cent. I'm absolutely delighted with the support. I work hard. Today I was lucky enough to score two goals and the fans were absolutely brilliant with me but we can't forget it was a team performance. We all performed together and we wanted to come away with a victory, which we did.
"When I signed I knew full well the position Newcastle were in but I didn't have any fears. The first half of the season Newcastle had a lot of injury problems and they couldn't perhaps put out the full team they wanted to put out. In the second half of the season it's going to be very different, with the new signings bringing a boost to the team."Reuse content