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Jul 14, 2014

Pressure's on Pardew to deliver

Remy Cabella's move to Newcastle has lifted the mood on Tyneside.

As Germany began to celebrate their fourth World Cup victory late on Sunday night, news broke on Tyneside that Newcastle had signed Montpelier's French international midfielder Remy Cabella for a fee of around 12 million pounds.

Cabella was linked with Newcastle for a year and throughout that time supporters have been following his progress in an excellent season that saw him score 14 goals from midfield in Ligue 1 and receive a late call-up to the French World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Franck Ribery.

Fans were excited by the prospect of signing him -- though few imagined it would actually happen -- so attention quickly turned from the World Cup to video snippets of their new man juggling a football on the St James' Park turf.

- Duffy: De Jong deal marks a change

He should be an excellent addition to a Newcastle squad that is shaping up rather well. New signings are still required, not least in attack, but the additions of Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback, Siem De Jong and now Cabella are bringing some much needed enthusiasm back to Newcastle's support.

I'm surprised by this sudden turn in transfer tactics at a club who had not made a permanent signing in around 18 months before this summer. Not only are players coming in, but the imminent arrival of Dutch full-back Daryl Janmaat from Feyenoord shows a far more professional approach than previously seen.

Janmaat's signing will free up Mathieu Debuchy to complete his Arsenal move; Newcastle making sure they sign Debuchy's replacement before the sale is a great improvement on the "sell now, panic later" approach of recent times.

Will the club stop there? It doesn't look like it. Monaco forward Emmanuel Rivière continues to be strongly linked and there has been talk that Newcastle are once again trying to tempt Loic Remy into making his move to the club permanent.

Alan Pardew is under pressure to deliver at Newcastle this season, with fans rapidly losing faith in him.

So why this sudden change in transfer policy?

Firstly, I think all involved at the club knew that quality reinforcements were needed or next season would be a struggle. The end of the 2013-14 season was abysmal and plenty feared that a relegation battle could be on the cards if signings were not made.

Incoming transfers also were needed to tempt supporters back to the club. Attendances were excellent last year but thousands of supporters quit their season tickets at the end of the season, defeated by the club's apparent lack of ambition in the Premier League and cup competitions.

No one but the club know exactly how many people refused to renew but I personally have never known as many people walk away. Will these signings tempt them back? Possibly, although another barrier for them is the continued employment of Alan Pardew as manager. Many already have joked that Cabella and De Jong had better track back or Pardew will have no use for them. Too many players have failed to progress under his tenure and there are concerns.

The signings are a huge boost for Pardew but they also increase the pressure on him. The 16th-placed finish in '12-13 was followed by a spectacular collapse in the second half of last season and a disappointing 10th-placed finish -- as well as the David Meyler head-butt incident -- so it could be a case of now or never for the boss.

Pardew is famed for his excuses, but I don't think Mike Ashley would stand for complaints about the difficulties of integrating so many new signings into the team should the season start badly.