During the winter break, Sky Sport Italia broke the story that there was a clause in Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s loan agreement, which meant that if the Frenchman played twenty times during his loan spell then AS Roma are obliged to make the deal permanent with a £5.5m transfer fee.
This news was covered widely in the Italian press with the expectation that Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was on the verge of completing a permanent move to AS Roma once the January window opened.
Getting his chance early due to injury, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa kept his place and established himself in the heart of the defence.
In the process, the on loan defender played a total of seventeen times before that winter break in Italy, including two as a sub, winning back his place in the French national squad in the process.
The two matches before the winter break saw Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and his defensive team-mates continue their good work, keeping clean sheets against both Genoa and AC Milan.
The January transfer window opened but with no immediate permanent deal completed for the on-loan Newcastle defender.
Then to the amazement of both the Roma fans and the Italian press, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was dropped for the first game after the winter break against Udinese, then left on the bench for the derby with Lazio.
Over the course of the two matches, Roma used six substitutes in total but ignored Mapou.
The story then emerged in Italy that Roma were holding off playing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to avoid triggering the £5.5m buying clause, the Italian club hoping that they negotiate a better deal in the summer or preferably this month.
At that point a number of journalists said that one more game and the defender had reached that twenty match point.
They were wrong though as the player at that point had only made 17 appearances (12 in Serie A and 5 in Champions League) not 19, Mapou was subsequently recalled for the away Serie A game at Palermo on 17 Jan and then kept his place for the Cup win over Empoli on Tuesday.
Tonight AS Roma travel to Fiorentina for a league clash and if selected it will be Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s twentieth appearance for the club from the Italian capital.
We await with interest to see if the on-loan Newcastle defender is selected and if indeed that then triggers a permanent transfer.
More importantly for Newcastle fans, is the possibility that incoming funds might mean a much needed defender/strike arriving at Newcastle if the proceeds are spent. We live in hope.