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 emerging in Italy is that Roma are holding off playing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to avoid triggering the £5.5m buying clause and are giving themselves a couple of matches leeway in case they need him in an emergency.
The Italian club hoping that they negotiate a better deal in the summer or preferably this month.
Any chance of Mike Ashley agreeing to buy in January appears to rest on funds being generated by the sale of players, if players who aren’t wanted such as Mapou can’t be sold on this month, then the chances of seeing a much needed striker and/or (ironically) a centre-back appear to be minimal.
With Roma only three points behind leaders Juventus and nine points clear of the third placed club, it will be interesting to see how Mapou’s loan club react if either Astori or Manolas (the pair who have played the last two matches) get injured.
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