Chancel Mbemba might finally have found a new club.
Rafa Benitez didn’t even include him on the bench in the Premier League in 2018 and the writing was/is on the wall that the central defender had to move.
A return to Anderlecht looked on the cards at one point, only for the Belgian club not to be able to afford him and the player fancying a transfer to Porto instead.
When Newcastle bought Chancel Mbemba (reported fee was anything between £8m and £10m) back in summer 2015, Porto were one of the clubs also linked with the player.
Moving forward to June 2018 and it was HLN in Belgium who first revealed that the Portuguese club would be his next destination with agreement expected in a matter of days (see below).
However, over three weeks later and it is still dragging on, despite the player quickly agreeing terms on a four year contract, only for agreement on a transfer fee to drag on, and on, and on.
Today (Wednesday) though, Portuguese newspaper O Jogo has front page headlines claiming a compromise has been reached.
They report that the two clubs started off 4m euros apart with respective 6m and 10m valuations, before narrowing that to 7m and 9m, then eventually now having settled on 8m euros (£7m) allegedly.
Chancel Mbemba turns 24 next month and the Portuguese newspaper claims that official confirmation is expected in the very near future. Let’s hope so.
Mbemba is just one on a long list of players Rafa Benitez is desperate to move on, to free up space in the squad, free up wages, and add money to his transfer kitty, so far none of them have been shifted, with both Matz Sels and Chancel Mbemba having looking to be going just after the window opened seven weeks ago.
Newcastle play Porto in a friendly on Saturday 28 July, the day ironically when the squad, including new players, are presented to the fans.
The Mag – 12 June 2018:
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.