News from Belgium that Anderlecht have failed in a move to bring back Chancel Mbemba.
The central defender was a hit with the Belgian club’s fans and would have been a popular move if they had pulled it off.
However, wages were always going to be a massive problem for a player who cost Newcastle up to £10m when signed three years ago.
Anderlecht were trying to do a double deal with Matz Sels after he had a decent season on loan and now hopefully that goalkeeping deal will go through, with Mbemba now said to be going elsewhere.
The usually reliable Belgian newspaper HLN says that a move for the DR Congo international proved ‘impossible’, no doubt due to the player’s wage demands.
However, they reveal that Chancel Mbemba is set to be fixed up elsewhere, with a move to Porto expected to be confirmed shortly.
They say that via a ‘reliable Portuguese source’, the move is expected to be finalised by Thursday at the latest.
Porto reached the final 16 of the Champions League last season and after winning the domestic league this past season, they are once again straight into the group stages, so Mbemba’s wages wouldn’t be a problem for them.
Newcastle fans will be hoping that once players such as Sels and Mbemba get moves elsewhere, with transfer fees generated and perhaps most importantly of all – their salaries cleared off the wage bill, it could help get things moving on bringing Rafa’s targets in.
Chancel Mbemba arrived three years ago along with Aleksandar Mitrovic from Anderlecht and despite relegation, he was popular with the fans and generally regarded as having been one of Newcastle’s better players, against not exactly stiff competition, starting 33 of the 38 PL games.
Rafa played him alongside Jamaal Lascelles in that late fight against relegation as Newcastle were unbeaten in their final six games and then that was the preferred partnership as NUFC settled into trying to get out of the Championship.
However, he and Lascelles had a nightmare in a home defeat to Wolves in September 2016, with the former Anderlecht player the one to make way for Ciaran Clark. The Irish international going on to be Newcastle’s player of the year.
In the last 20 months, Chancel Mbemba has subsequently made only 12 league starts under Rafa and those have almost all come about due to injuries, or the odd time the manager has gone with three/five at the back.