Newcastle’s summer signings have largely wasted little time in bedding in at the Sports Direct Arena and if Alan Pardew can uncover some other hidden gems in the transfer window, there is still an outside possibility that the club could mount an assault on the top four.
Pardew’s men ended November in the top four, but four defeats in six games during December saw the club fall slightly off the pace in the race for a Champions League spot.
Their authoritative victory over Manchester United will leave some fans optimistic that their current four-point deficit on fourth spot can be closed and 40/1 may be a massive price in the Premier League odds that they qualify for the Champions League.
This task will not be made any easier by Demba Ba heading off to the African Cup of Nations to represent Senegal as his impact has been instant, with 15 Premier League goals already this season.
He will rightly be considered to have made the greatest impact, but the success of French duo Yohan Cabaye and Manchester United reject Gabriel Obertan should not be underestimated.
Pardew has already insisted that no striker will arrive in January to replace Ba, with the manager happy to rely on Shola Ameobi and Leon Best to step up and take their opportunities.
However, Pardew is not ruling out doing any business in January and it is another Frenchman that appears top of his shortlist.
Benjamin Corgnet was largely unheard of 12 months ago, but after helping Dijon to promotion to the French top flight, he has continued his progression to be one of the stars of the current Ligue 1 season.
Newcastle have already had one substantial offer rebuffed as Dijon hope to hang on to their man until the end of the campaign, but an improved bid may prove too much for them to turn down.