A player linked with Newcastle in recent days is defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, although the reports have largely been distorted thanks to the lifting of the odd quote from a recent extensive interview the player gave recently.
At the age of only 23, Yanga-Mbiwa is captain of the newly crowned French champions, Montpellier and if Newcastle were to capture him then it would represent a big step forward on the transfer front.
With only a year left on his contract there could be some wriggle room when it comes to any transfer fee.
The interview was with an Italian media organisation which would explain the heavy news bias towards AC Milan but as you’ll see he also speaks very positively about Newcastle.
We put our top translator/investigator, Pierre, on the case and this is how it has been reported in France on Le10Sport.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa still does not know what his future holds and it does not seem to really stress him. It must be said that the Montpellier defender has no shortage of choices.
What jersey will Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa be wearing on 31st August? That of Montpellier, captain’s armband on his arm? That of AC Milan to replace Thiago Silva? Or that of Newcastle, for a more surprising departure? In an interview with the Italian site TuttoMercato, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa does not seem to exclude any possibilities.
The defender prefers to consider every possibility. “It’s possible that I can renew my contract with Montpellier, just as it is possible that I do not renew it,” but then goes on to say “I do not exclude the possibility of renewing my contract with Montpellier.”
Milan remains his dream
Nevertheless, we feel that the priority of Yanga-Mbiwa remains AC Milan. “Playing for Milan would certainly be a great opportunity for me, so now we wait.” An AC Milan without Thiago Silva certainly, but this does not seem to scare Yanga-Mbiwa. Is Milan as strong without Thiago Silva? “Yes, absolutely. Milan is a great team. Milan has very good players. All Milan players are great players and of the highest level.” However, Yanga-Mbiwa has no model in Serie A so far. “My favourite defender in Serie A? I have not got any because all the players in Serie A are good. They are all talented and I do not want to talk about a particular name.”
In addition to AC Milan, Newcastle seems to have made it clear that they are keen on Yanga-Mbiwa. Again, this situation has some attractive advantages for Yanga-Mbiwa. “I know that Newcastle is also interested in me” says the Montpellier defender. And Yanga-Mbiwa already seems to have started his project such as a detour to Newcastle before finishing in Milan? Why not … “Newcastle is a great opportunity for me, and I hope that eventually I could join Milan. Newcastle before joining Milan would give me the chance to mature even more and gain more experience. We’ll see what happens.”
The following six matches have already been confirmed as televised live, with no doubt many more to follow.
Spurs (H) – Saturday 18th August but moved to 5.30pm (ESPN)
Chelsea (A) – Saturday, 25th August but also moved to a 5.30pm kick-off (ESPN)
Everton (A) – Monday 17th September 8pm (was Sat 15th Sept) (SKY)
Manchester United (H) – Sunday 7th October 4pm (was Sat 6th Oct) (SKY)
Mackems (A) – Sunday 21st October 1.30pm (was Sat 20th Oct) (SKY)
Liverpool (A) – Sunday 4th November 4pm (was Sat 3rd Nov) (SKY)