Monday saw the Belgian media report that as well as buying Mitrovic, Newcastle had also agreed a deal to sign his Anderlecht teammate Chancel Mbemba.
Now Wednesday morning sees widespread coverage that the deal is imminent, with Aleksandar Mitrovic saying in an interview he is looking forward to training with Mbemba once again at Newcastle, whilst other Belgian media say that a visa is due to be sorted today.
Also in Belgium, Het Laatse Nieuws have ran a big article detailing how Anderlecht fans will have to be realistic, as only a small proportion of the cash that Newcastle are paying for Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba will be available for team strengthening.
With no Champions League this season and a number of people (and Partizan with Mitrovic) taking their cuts from the top line, HLN say that Anderlecht will have to spend wisely to fill the gaps left by Newcastle’s two signings.
A fee of 10m euros (approx £7m) has already been widely reported for the 20 year old, with past media coverage claiming that the defender had a buyout clause of around that figure.
There was also the potential issue of a work permit due to his country DR Congo’s lowly ranking, however Nieuwsblad.be reported 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.
Like Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba has been left out of Anderlecht’s final three pre season friendlies in anticipation of the move to Newcastle.
Anderlecht manager Besnik Hasi has described his soon to be departed central defender Chancel 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.”
The pre season tour of America has once again shown Newcastle’s significant problems in defence against some very average teams, especially in the middle of the pitch. This was capped off by letting in four last night when a particularly understrength defence collapsed to allow Portland Timbers second team go 4-1 up at one stage – with the defending of set-plays atrocious as usual.
Mbemba isn’t the tallest (a shade under 6ft) but he is renowned for his ability to get up and win the ball in the air, something that United are desperate for.
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), while a FIFA investigation has previously 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.