Monday morning sees the Belgian media not only report that Aleksandar Mitrovic is having his United medical today but that Newcastle have also agreed a deal to sign his Anderlecht teammate Chancel Mbemba.
Nieuwsblad.be say that a fee of around £7m (10m euros) has been agreed for the 20 year old after Newcastle were assured that the central defender could potentially have an attractive resale value, as he is indeed 20 years old and not 27 (see background to that below).
There was also the potential issue of a work permit due to his country DR Congo’s lowly ranking, however Nieuwsblad.be say that on that side of things Newcastle have also had confirmation that a work permit to play in the Premier League won’t be a problem either.
Once Newcastle were given these assurances then it is reported their offer topped Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid who weren’t prepared to match United’s deal.
Both Mbemba and Mitrovic had been left out of Anderlecht’s two friendlies previous to this weekend in anticipation of transfers for the pair, with time pressing as the Belgian League kicks off again in only 6 days time. Then on Sunday as Mitrovic flew into Newcastle Airport, Chancel Mbema was again left out of Anderlecht’s latest friendly, watching his teammates (for now anyway) play against Lazio.
Newcastle have been linked with Chancel Mbemba for some time and back in April Het Laatste Nieuws stated that they had spoken to Mbemba’s agents, who told them that the reports of Newcastle interest in signing him are true. At that time it was stated that the defender had a buyout clause of around £6m.
Anderlecht manager Besnik Hasi has described Mbemba:
“He has great class, he may not be tall if you compare him to some defenders but he is so fast and can jump so high, plus he’s a really good footballer too.”
Chancel Mbemba has also found notoriety in bizarre circumstances, while Anderlecht state that he will turn 21 on the day the Premier League kicks off again (8 August), a FIFA investigation has looked into claims that allege he may in reality be as old as 27 on this next birthday.
In a probe into certain players’ ages, FIFA looked into the case of the defender from Congo.
Back in 2013 CNN revealed:
‘Mbemba was registered by his two first Congolese clubs as being born in 1988, according to documents obtained by CNN. Yet for a Cup of Nations qualifier in June 2011, his year of birth was listed as November 30, 1991.
Meanwhile, the birth date recorded by his Belgian club Anderlecht is August 8, 1994.
Just to complicate matters, Mbemba himself, thinks he was born in 1990.’
The Belgian media also reported in March that Graham Carr, Newcastle’s Chief Scout, had been over to Belgium to run the rule over the player personally, as well as going to Equatorial Guinea to watch him at the African Cup on Nations.
The centre-back played in all six DR Congo matches in January/February, including the third place play-off where he scored one of the penalties in the shoot-out after extra-time, which DR Congo won 4-2.
Over the course of two seasons at Anderlecht, Mbemba has played 79 times and scored 9 goals.