NEWCASTLE United look set to miss out on Montpellier’s Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa after his agent revealed that one of the club’s top defensive targets is heading for Germany’s Bundesliga.
United have heavily scouted the £7million-rated France centre-back for the past 12 months and his name featured prominently on the list of available centre-backs that was presented at Newcastle’s end-of-season summit earlier this month.
He has just earned a first senior call-up, is the right age and comes with the right amount of experience to fit United’s transfer profile and talk both in France and closer to home is that enquiries had been made to the newly-crowned Ligue 1 champions.
But despite having watched him regularly they appear to be looking at other targets to fill the centre-back vacancy that Alan Pardew has identified as his number one summer priority. Instead of Tyneside, the 23-year-old Yanga-Mbiwa appears to be heading for Germany.
The player’s agent Tim Hagar told The Journal yesterday that there had been no formal approach from Newcastle for Yanga-Mbiwa, despite Montpellier having agreed to let the player go for the right price.
And, while that might change if United opt to launch a late bid for the player, he appears pretty certain that his client will not be joining the French foreign legion at St James’ Park anytime soon.
“We haven’t talked to Newcastle,” he told The Journal.
“It is not true that there has been an approach and he won’t go to Newcastle. I don’t know where he will be going but we have interested clubs in Germany.
“I think he will go to Germany – I don’t know why Newcastle haven’t followed up their interest.”
Despite making their first transfer breakthrough last week with the signing of midfielder Romain Amalfitano from Stade Reims, Newcastle do not appear in a hurry to rush through any more major business before the start of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Although they are working on deals to try to fill the many vacancies in their development squad for next season, negotiations for senior reinforcements appear to be less advanced with most clubs delaying their business until at least July with a major international tournament ahead.
With boss Pardew taking a well-deserved break – he was in Monaco for the Grand Prix over the weekend – and other staff also taking a breather, they are ready to wait for the conclusion of the European Championships to make definitive moves.
Indeed, United are still working on their retained list – with the club not yet ready to confirm the departure of stars like Danny Guthrie and Peter Løvenkrands. A formal announcement is now not expected until the back end of this week.
Their defensive targets remain largely based on the Continent, with FC Twente’s Brazilian centre-back Douglas another in the frame.
As revealed in The Journal last week, there are concerns about the number of agents claiming to represent him and Newcastle would not be able to sign him until August due to issues with him qualifying for Dutch citizenship – but the interest in him is by no means dead.
United’s domestic targets are all younger and seen more as potential players for the future. A fresh approach for Sheffield United’s Harry Maguire has not been ruled out and that is more of a possibility after the Blades lost out on promotion through the League One play-offs.
Meanwhile, United’s Papiss Cissé has been awarded the prestigious Talents D’Afrique award by French TV station Canal Plus. It is a gong given to the African player who scored the most goals in the major European leagues – a significant achievement on Cissé’s part.
The 26-year-old netted nine times in the Bundesliga for Freiburg last season, before hitting 13 goals in his first 14 Premier League appearances after switching to Newcastle in January.