Arsenal are looking to submit a last-minute bid for Montpelleir defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who is close to signing for Newcastle United.
This might feel like déjà vu for Newcastle fans; the Magpies were close to signing Loic Remy before QPR stepped in and landed the French striker and now they might lose out on Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Recent reports suggested that Newcastle United reached an agreement (of £6.8 million) with French side Montpellier over the sale of Mbiwa. But now it seems like the London club are preparing a last-minute bid for the defender.
The French international is one of the most coveted young defenders in Europe at the moment and Arsenal have been scouting the 23-year-old for over a year now. Last season AC Milan were close to signing Mbiwa, but they pulled out at the last minute due to Montpellier’s high transfer fee demands.
Arsenal’s interest in the Frenchman cooled off in recent times, but doubts about Bacary Sagna’s future at the club seemed to have reignited it. Arsene Wenger is in the market for a versatile defender and Mbiwa fits the bill perfectly. The 23-year-old can play as a holding midfielder, as a center-back and as a right-back.
Newcastle have reportedly offered Mbiwa with a £63,000-per-week contract and the defender is expected to arrive at Newcastle for a medical today. Arsenal might have to offer a better contract in order to hijack this move.
The transfer fee of £6.8 million for Mbiwa will be a bargain deal for someone who has the potential to become a permanent fixture in the French national side. Both Newcastle and Arsenal are known for their strong hold in the French transfer market as this will be an interesting transfer battle.
For Alan Pardew, landing Mbiwa is a priority now since Fabricio Coloccini is expected to leave the club either in this transfer window or next summer. Newcastle have already been affected by injuries, Demba Ba’s transfer to Chelsea and some players being unavailable due to African Cup of Nations.
Coloccini’s absence – who wants to return to his homeland due to ‘personal reasons’ – will leave a gaping hole in the defence for Alan Pardew to fill up.
At this point a new defender and a striker is in his priority list and Mbiwa’s deal, if it goes through, will provide a huge boost to Newcastle, who are struggling at the wrong end of the table.