NEWCASTLE United intend to make Swiss teenager Kevin Mbabu their sixth signing of a successful January transfer window today – while Danny Simpson and Xisco could head for the St James’ Park exit on deadline day.
United were tying up the formalities of a deal for 17-year-old midfielder Mbabu yesterday, with the Servette schemer set to head straight for Newcastle’s development team until the end of the season.
The club earmarked Mbabu for a move at the start of the January window and invited him to Tyneside in a bid to ward off interest from Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City. That appears to have worked, Newcastle preparing to announce him as the club’s latest arrival later today.
That is likely to be the only incoming business for Newcastle, but Simpson’s three-year spell on St James’ Park could come to an end today if either Wigan or Fulham firm up their interest over the next few hours. Roberto Martinez is desperate for defensive reinforcements and with Simpson’s contract due to expire in the summer, Newcastle would be prepared to do business for less than £1million.
Simpson, too, may feel a move is the best option for him after being overtaken by Mathieu Debuchy in the first-team stakes. Alan Pardew has made it clear to the defender that he is welcome to stay and fight for his place in the team but his departure seems assured – whether it is now or in the summer. Xisco will also leave Newcastle today – most likely for the final time – with Spanish second division side Cordoba prepared to broker a loan move ahead of a permanent switch in the summer.
The former Spain under-21 international has endured a miserable time on Tyneside since signing for the club during the Kevin Keegan era – although a lucrative five-year contract will have eased the pain for a player who never
threatened to make a breakthrough at Newcastle.
Even this season, when Nile Ranger made an unlikely return to senior side duty, he has failed to make it into the first-team picture.
United could also extend loan deals for Curtis Good and Brad Inman, who are currently at Bradford City and Crewe Alexandra respectively. They will be followed out of the door in due course by Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson, who have both been made available for loan until the end of the season.
With the closure of the transfer window later today, United will reflect on a month of excellent business. They also have the return of Hatem Ben Arfa in three weeks to look forward to.
The return of Steven Taylor is another positive, with the defender tipped for an England call-up by boss Pardew if he can stay injury-free.
Taylor said: “When you’re out injured, you’re a nobody. But when you’re on the pitch, that’s what it’s all about. I had a hamstring injury, so I was out from November. It’s not nice. When you’re going into shops, you get the old grannies coming up saying, ‘Listen, get out on the pitch’.
“They were giving me a kick up the backside, and no matter where you go in Newcastle, because it’s a football city, you run into people who want to see you on the pitch.
“I’ve got to thank my physios and fitness team for getting me out there. They were getting me in early and making me leave late, but that’s what it’s about.”