By Rob Stewart
Modibo Maiga is poised to undergo a medical examination as he closes in on a €8.3 (£7) million move to Newcastle United from French side Sochaux, according to reports on Tyneside.
The 24-year-old Mali striker is understood to be in London for a medical as he prepares to complete his switch from the Ligue 1 side to their Premier League counterparts when the January transfer window opens.
Newcastle are expecting Maiga to pass the tests without a hitch and are hoping that a transfer saga that has dragged on since last summer will finally be brought to a conclusion in time for the turn of the year.
Maiga’s own hopes of a move to Newcastle were dashed last summer as the two clubs fell out over his proposed transfer with the French club reporting his suitors to Fifa for an alleged illegal approach to the player.
In an attempt to force a move to Tyneside, Maiga refused to play in a match against Caen last August before failing to turn up for training the next day and had to apologise to the club's supporters following for his actions.
Maiga, who has scored four goals this term, has not had the happiest of seasons and had been out of action due to injury for a month before returning to the fold as a half-time substitute when Sochaux lost 1-0 against Paris-Saint Germain last weekend.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will be hoping that he will take to the Premier League as quickly as other recent recruits including French international midfielder Yohan Cabaye and Cheikh Tiote.
Should the deal be completed, Pardew will expect Maiga to bring pace to the Newcastle attack that is currently spearheaded by Demba Ba, who already has 11 goals to his credit this season.
The move for Maiga is the latest in a long line of deals between Newcastle and clubs in France thanks to the work of the Magpies’ chief scout Graham Carr, who has identified Ligue 1 as offering club owner Mike Ashley the best value for money.
Although Maiga could be in line for a high-profile debut when reigning Premier League champions Manchester United head to Tyneside on Wednesday, January 4, it has been suggested the Toon Army will have to wait longer to see him in action due to his Africa Cup of Nations commitments.
When the deal with Sochaux is concluded, Newcastle will focus their attention on signing a new centre-half with Steven Taylor ruled out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury.
Former Manchester United full-back Danny Simpson has turned down the offer of a new contract at Newcastle but the club will not allow him to leave in January despite his restlessness.
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