NEWCASTLE UNITED’S spending in the January transfer window broke through the £10m barrier last night when they completed the signing of Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
After successfully passing a medical at the club’s Benton training headquarters yesterday, Yanga-Mbiwa finalised the £6.7m transfer to St James’ Park, and has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal.
Newcastle’s squad strengthening will not stop there and they are also understood to have edged significantly closer to two more new signings.
Nancy have confirmed that a fee has been agreed – believed to be around £2.5m – with Newcastle for left-back Massadio Haidara and Bordeaux have indicated a willingness to do business for forward Yoan Gouffran for £1.5m.
And a fourth new face this month might not be far away either. Midfielder Moussa Sissoko, whose advisors have held talks with a number of clubs, has been left out of Toulouse’s squad for tonight’s French Cup tie with PSG ahead of his departure.
While Newcastle still have work to do on those deals, they finally landed Yanga- Mbiwa after tracking the player for more than a year.
The 23-year-old led Montpellier to the French league title last season and Newcastle tried in the summer to land him only to be put off by the asking price.
But after reported interest from Arsenal was never seriously followed up Montpellier lowered their demands and an agreement was reached earlier this week.
After spending the day on Tyneside to rubber-stamp the move, Yanga-Mbiwa is now excited about the challenge that lies ahead of him in the Premier League.
“It is an honour to be able to come to Newcastle United and have the chance to play in the Premier League,” he said.
“Newcastle are one of the biggest clubs in the league, and I’m going to try to give everything I have so that the team can do well.
“I have experienced a lot of positive things so far in my career and one of those is joining this club.”
Yanga-Mbiwa, who will wear squad number 13, will be the eighth Frenchman in the Newcastle squad when he starts to train with his new team-mates this morning.
He was born in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui before moving over to a town near Marseille in the south of France.
The centre-back has played for Montpellier since he was 13 but it was his performances in last season’s title-winning campaign which caught the eye of Newcastle chief scout, Graham Carr.
Haidara, 20, and Gouffran, 26, are expected on Tyneside within the next 24 hours to finalise deals.
The latter has been left out of Bordeaux’s squad for the French Cup tie with Moulins tonight, and revealed on Twitter last night that he would become a Newcastle player today.
It is hoped Newcastle will have the new players in place to make their debut at Aston Villa next Tuesday, which is a game now holding huge importance with both teams in a relegation fight.
A deal for Sissoko is more complicated.
He is believed to have agreed a pre-contract agreement which would see him arrive in the summer, but Newcastle would like a deal to happen now – but not for Toulouse’s £2.5m asking price.