Massadio Haidara

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

He arrived in Tyneside wearing a Rolling Stones t-shirt and is a budding pianist - now Massadio Haïdara is hoping to hit all the right notes at Newcastle United.

The 20-year-old defender became the Magpies' fourth signing of the January transfer window on Thursday as Alan Pardew looks to fine-tune his squad.

After five years with Ligue 1 side Nancy, the France under-21 international has taken squad number 19 at St. James' Park. And, as he explained in an exclusive interview moments after putting pen to paper on a contract which will take him until the summer of 2018, he is seeking to become a key player in more ways than one. 

"I've been learning piano for a few months now," he told nufc.co.uk. "I love it. It was something I never did when I was younger and I've recently started to get into it and from time to time I do play.

"I'm a beginner, moving onto the next step up but hopefully I'll get better. I play the same sort of music as I like to listen to; American pop songs and French-style songs.

"I like to listen to music. It really helps me to relax and unwind when I've had a busy day - but it's not the most important thing in my life. Basically, football is pretty much everything for me. I don't do a great deal of other things outside of football so I really put all of my energy and effort into football."

Haïdara, who is of Senegalese descent but was born in Trappes, in the western suburbs of Paris, made his Nancy debut against Sochaux in December 2010 more than year before signing his first professional contract.

He went on to play more than 50 times for Les Chardons as well as representing his country at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level, before Newcastle made a bid for him this month.

Massadio Haidara

"They really showed me that they wanted me to come to Newcastle," Haïdara explained. "Secondly, I was impressed by the club's ambition and the plans that they had to take me on personally in my development as well.

"When I was in France, I'd play football with my own team and then always go and watch a Premier League match the next day. I always watched Premier League football. I think the Premier League is a type of footballing style which suits me personally as well and corresponds to the way I play.

"So for me it was a priority, really, to come and be able to play in the Premier League.

"Defensively I consider myself quite a powerful, strong player. I like to go into one-on-ones and defensive battles and I also feel very comfortable heading the ball. In terms of attack, I like to take control of the ball, run past people and get past defenders. I'm quite quick and I think my crossing ability is also pretty good."

Despite his tender years, Haïdara hopes to become a first-team regular at his new club sooner rather than later.

"With my club in France I played every week," he said. "I started every week, so I've came here and I really want to play. If it does take some time, then it takes some time but really I want to get playing as soon as I can. I want to get stuck in."

And that, from the man with the Rolling Stones t-shirt, will be music to the ears of the Toon Army.

Massadio Haïdara's first home game for Newcastle could be against Chelsea on Saturday, 2nd February. Tickets are still available but selling fast, and to secure your seat, click here