Pardew: Newcastle wanted Zaha but got four Ligue 1 players for the same price

The Magpies boss has revealed his admiration of the young forward but instead opted to dip back into the French market to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has admitted his interest in new Manchester United signing Wilfried Zaha but revealed that the Magpies instead opted to sign four players for the same price from France.

After finishing in fifth place in the Premier League last term, Newcastle have struggled this season and currently lie in 16th place in the top flight.

Pardew conceded that he had "no chance" of matching the Red Devils' reported offer of around £15 million for the Crystal Palace star and explained that he felt his squad would benefit more from the signing of several cheaper players.

"There is slightly more value in the French market," Pardew told reporters. "Obviously, we have exploited that.

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"Zaha is a typical example of trying to take a young player out of the Championship. I like him. I wanted to take him but, seriously, we had no chance. We just can't pay that.

"We got four players for that. It suited our needs better to strengthen several positions for that sort of money."

All five of Pardew's January signings have arrived from Ligue 1, with Moussa Sissoko most recently following Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara into St James' Park.

"We wanted players who had ambition in them, not just for six months but for the future," Pardew added.

"None of them was a knee-jerk reaction; otherwise we would have bought a 31-year-old from a squad in the Premier League. We bought players to take us forward. We are happy with the business we have done."