Newcastle signed five French players last January. The tricolour was everywhere, there was even a French day. The one that got away, Loic Remy, the big one, is still not theirs, only signing a season-long loan deal that cost Newcastle £2 million in the summer.
Losing Remy twice (he signed for a higher salary at Queens Park Rangers) would be beyond careless, yet after his eighth goal for the club in the 10 Premier League games he has played helped secure a third successive victory yesterday, Alan Pardew admitted there will be further discussions throughout the campaign:
"I think Loic is going to be an ongoing thing," said the Newcastle manager. "We are probably talking about that for a long, long time."
As such, Remy's value rises, even if, as Pardew harshly claimed, it was not his best performance. That seemed slightly churlish given his displeasure was based around being too selfish around the Norwich penalty area. That instinct is what makes forwards unique. It was also his late arrival at the far post with less than three minutes played that put Newcastle on their way to victory. Pardew had not seen his side score from a corner since October 2011. There was extra satisfaction when Yohan Cabaye's left wing corner bounced across the Norwich penalty area to find Remy.
"It's not something we're proficient at so I thought I might celebrate that," added Pardew. "It was well worked. Loic got another goal. It keeps his run going."
In the 38th minute, Shola Ameobi's header was parried by John Ruddy into the path of Yoan Gouffran, who slotted home from close range.
"When we win we are a European team and when we lose it's the end of the world," said Pardew. "It's about winning games and keeping our feet on the ground. We have really good players who are really committed. Winning was the only agenda. I'm as pleased tonight as I was when we won at Spurs. This is the type of game we could have lost."
Newcastle failed to find a third and that offered Norwich a way back into the game, They did not take it until the 80th minute, and by then it was too late. Leroy Fer, who drew glowing praise from Pardew, outjumped Fabricio Coloccini from a right wing corner and headed past Tim Krul.
That created late energy for the visitors, who had not scored in the previous three meetings with Newcastle. There was not enough, however, to grab a point.
"We gave ourselves too much to do," said the Norwich manager Chris Hughton. "With Newcastle on the back of a couple of wins, you can't afford to be two-nil down at half-time and not one-nil down in the first few minutes. We made life too difficult for ourselves. We had some good periods and we made some chances and rallied well in the second half but ultimately the goals we conceded are what have done us. We conceded two soft goals but we came back and showed a bit of pride and passion."
Hughton admitted that Anthony Pilkington, who was stretched off early in the second half, will have tests to see how badly he has damaged his hamstring.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Krul 6; Yanga-Mbiwa 7, Williamson 7, Coloccini 6, Santon 7; Sissoko 7, Tiote 6, Cabaye 7 (Anita 68, 4), Gouffran 7; Ameobi 8 (Cisse 74, 3), Remy 8.
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Ruddy; Martin 6, Turner 6, Bennett 6, Olsson 6; Johnson 7 (Hoolahan 89), Fer 7; Redmond 6 (Murphy 89), Howson 7, Pilkington 6 (Elmander 49, 5); Hooper 4.
Referee: Mr Mike Dean 7
Star man: Ameobi
Match rating: 5/10