FEW players in football's modern era achieve instant stardom on their club debuts. Wayne Rooney marked his first match for Manchester United nearly nine years ago by scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League. Fabrizio Ravanelli did the same for Middlesbrough when he nabbed all three goals in a stunning 3-3 tie with Liverpool back in 1997.
Newcastle United's new signing Moussa Sissoko didn't quite match what Rooney and Ravanelli did, but his well-taken brace of goals against European champions Chelsea last Saturday had the home fans purring long after the final whistle.
Few could claim they knew much about the lanky Frenchman - signed for just £1.8 million (S$3.5 million) from French side Toulouse - before the kick-off.
Ninety minutes later, they had witnessed the 23-year-old's predatory instincts first-hand - and how they loved what they saw! Sissoko's second-half header levelled the scores at 2-2, and just when it seemed that the game was heading for a draw, he thumped in a bullet from outside the box that gave Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech no chance.
If Newcastle manager Alan Pardew could only speak one word of French to Sissoko that day, it probably would have been "Merci". That priceless winning goal gave the Magpies a second straight victory and edged them further away from the relegation zone.
Sissoko is one of five French players that Pardew snapped up during the January transfer window, making it a total of 10 French-born players in his 33-man squad.
Their collective presence has arguably changed the landscape at St James' Park. Pardew has had to resort to bringing in a translator to communicate with his new Gallic recruits, with 14 players in total speaking French as their first language.
The Geordie faithful are also getting in on the French revolution, with many fans seen donning berets and comedy moustaches, while others have brandished Tricolour flags in the stands.
They do so with good reason, too. There had been little to smile about in the first four months of the season, with a recent run of three defeats in four games sending the Northeast outfit desperately close to the relegation zone. For some fans, this was too much to bear given how the team had done so well last season, almost threatening to break into the top four at one point.
It was high time to bring in some new blood, and the club's chief scout Graham Carr duly obliged. He went bargain-hunting across the English channel to France, looking for the kinds of talent similar to Newcastle's earlier French imports Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa.
Carr returned home with an entire list of French players to pick from, and the management wasted no time in purchasing five of them - Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara, Mathieu Debuchy and Sissoko.
Among them, Gouffran also deserves special praise for his industry, pace and keen eye for goal. The 26-year-old from Bordeaux was a constant thorn in Chelsea's side throughout the match, creating chance after chance for his team-mates during his 74 minutes on the pitch before he was replaced by - you guessed it - another Frenchman in Sylvain Marveaux.
No one should be surprised that Newcastle has gone down the Gallic route. In the past, the club has signed successful French players, such as Laurent Robert, David Ginola, Franck Dumas, Antoine Sibierski and Olivier Bernard - all of whom made a lasting impression on Tyneside during their respective tenures.
But not all are convinced by the French colony at Newcastle. Veteran Lyon midfielder Steed Malbranque, who plied his trade in England for 10 years, certainly thinks having so many players from one country could be a problem, especially if they form cliques and alienate the rest of the team.
Liverpool's former French manager, Gérard Houllier, described the French invasion at Newcastle as one that would disrupt team spirit at the club. French sports paper L'Equipe, meanwhile, accused Newcastle of treating the French league like a "discount supermarket".
Pardew, however, is having none of it. He has openly said that he would go out and buy "20 others" from France if the right player and price came along. His main priority now, though, is to steer the club higher up the league table and build for the future.
With Newcastle already out of both domestic cups, a respectable mid-table finish and an extended run in the Europa League are the only realistic targets left as the season goes into its final third.
While it's difficult to say if things will be as easy as "un, deux, trois" for Newcastle in the coming weeks, the likes of an in-form Sissoko in the team could see the Magpies reap a bountiful harvest of both goals and points.