Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s Newcastle United future is under serious threat, with Alan Pardew harbouring reservations about the France defender’s suitability for the Premier League.
The 24-year-old was hauled off at half-time on Saturday after struggling terrible in an unfamiliar right-back slot against Southampton, and is seemingly running out of chances with the Newcastle manager.
Pardew – who believes that Mike Williamson has performed well enough to be considered a first-choice centre-back next season – is also understood to have doubts about the defender’s aerial ability.
Yanga-Mbiwa has not been able to nail down a regular starting slot under Pardew since he came to club from Montpellier, whose club president Louis Nicollin said the move had been unsuccessful.
Yanga-Mbiwa was linked with Lille last week and it is understood that there have been soundings to French clubs from parties close to the defender.
Whether these have come because the player wants to play regularly in his centre-back slot is unclear, but the January 2013 capture is one of the stars under threat in the possible summer overhaul. United are intending to bring in up to seven new players in the summer but there is likely to be a number of high-profile departures too, with Yanga-Mbiwa and Steven Taylor both under threat.
Nicollin hinted earlier this month that Yanga-Mbiwa was wrong to choose Newcastle, when discussing the future of United target Remy Cabella. “For my dear Yanga-Mbiwa, Newcastle was not Eldorado,” he said.
United still hold out hope of bidding for Cabella, however, who is understood to be one of a number of French players in the sights of Newcastle in the close season.
Indeed there have been a series of “positive” meetings about Newcastle’s transfer targets – including one as recently as last week – in the summer which partly explains Pardew’s bullishness despite United’s form collapsing of late.
If the United boss ticks the box of a top-10 finish it looks nailed on that he will remain at St James’ Park to oversee the rebuilding job that Newcastle insiders accept is almost inevitable – although as Mike Ashley illustrated with his appointment of Joe Kinnear last year, nothing can be considered an absolute certainty during his tenure at St James’ Park.
His presence at Newcastle’s last four games has been interesting and intriguing, however – and most certainly an illustration that he is taking a much keener interest in the club .
He needs to, for there is serious work to be done for United to arrest a worrying post-Yohan Cabaye slide, which will require significant investment and managing of the players already at the club.
Today, Journal columnist Don Hutchison writes that he believes half of Newcastle’s players would choose to leave this summer if they could, and some worrying quotes emerged from across the Channel from an interview Mathieu Debuchy gave with French television channel Telefoot.
The France international called Paris Saint-German “immense” and feels that it is a “great club” – although that came after an assurance that he remained under contract at St James’ Park.
“I’m still under contract with Newcastle, and I am focused on the conclusion of the season and the World Cup,” he said.
“After that we do not know what the future holds. But PSG is immense.
“It is a great club, I think it would appeal to all players.”
Fabricio Coloccini is another player whose future is shrouded in mystery, with his form having collapsed in the last few weeks. United also have a decision to make on their skipper.