Mathieu Debuchy has admitted he wants to leave Lille this summer paving the way for a move to long-term suitors Newcastle United.
The Magpies are in pole position to sign the 26-year-old right back after seeing off competition from European Champions Chelsea and Italian giants Inter Milan.
Boss Alan Pardew has been tracking Debuchy for the past few months and reportedly had a £4 million bid rejected by Lille last month but are thought to have brokered a £7m deal.
And while nothing has been formally agreed just yet the France international has never hidden his desire to depart the Ligue 1 side and revealed Tyneside is his preferred destination.
“That is my priority, although Inter also enquired about me,” he told L’Equipe
“I am committed 100 per cent to the fact I want to leave Lille, I want to discover another championship.
“The coach wants to keep me and I will not change his mind, but I will do everything I can to move elsewhere.”
Signing a full back is one of Pardew’s priorities in the transfer window with Danny Simpson yet to sign a new deal to stay at St James’ Park and youngster James Tavernier considered too raw for the first team.
Lille had hoped to convince Debuchy to stay with them for another year but he is now determined to link up with compatriots Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux and recent recruit Romain Amalfitano at Newcastle.
It’s thought midfielder Cabaye was the one to convince the Frenchman to join the Toon Army during their time together at Euro 2012 where they were both standout performers for Les Blues.
With a Europa League campaign added to their domestic commitments Pardew will want the deal lined up before his side kick off the new Premier League season against Tottenham Hotspur in August.