Bar any last minute hitches Anderlecht will sell their Congolese central defender, Chancel Mbemba to Newcastle United for a fee reported to be around £8m. We know Mbemba is booked in for a medical and it is to be hoped he will do the thing with the scarf at St James’ Park before the weekend.
On behalf of everyone at true faith, we of course welcome Chancel to our club and to our community. We all hope he has a long, happy and successful career at United and that he enjoys living within our city and makes many friends here.
As I understand it Chancel Mbemba is just under six foot, is very quick and I’m hoping he’s very hard and very skilful as that is the half-baked priority I’ve set in my head for new signings this summer. He can operate at full back or centre-half so that will give McClaren options when the inevitable injuries, suspensions etc all hit at certain points of the coming season. There are questions about his true age and that raises memories of the signing of Obafemi Martins from Inter Milan almost ten years ago.
United have now signed a new spine for the team with Mitrovic in attack, Gini in midfield and now Mbemba in defence. I estimate that United should be half way through the investment it needed to make as a minimum from the end of last season. I believe we need to sign another striker and a central defender as an absolute priority and minimum. The addition of another creative player would be a major step forward too. At that point I believe with the return of De Jong and Aarons, the retention of Sissoko that would make us a team that has the potential to finish in the top ten.
United now appears to have a unity of purpose amongst the Head Coach, Chief Scout and Managing Director. McClaren appears, on the surface at least to be satisfied and content with the signings Carr is leading on and that is in marked contrast to Pardew.
It would appear United is focused upon signing up and coming talent from less prominent leagues in Belgium and Holland and whether this is with a view to put into a shop window to move onto more illustrious clubs only time will tell. What is encouraging however is to hear McClaren talk in the longer term about the next 2-3 windows and signing players over a longer period. We will only move forward and increase our competitiveness with sustained and prudent investment.
As only one supporter, I don’t want to see the club make Pop Star signings as it did under Shepherd’s chairmanship in order to sell replica shirts and attract sponsors but I do want to see the overall strength and quality of the squad improve year on year. That will improve our competitiveness and no matter how difficult it might be get us closer to the top of English football and who knows deliver on Mike Ashley’s newly stated ambition to win a trophy. Our day indeed may come.
So, these two, hopefully three signings are great but we’ll need three more to get us into a strong position at the start of the season and drain the quicksand of pessimism we were all sinking into after season after season of frustration and despondency.
Well done to all involved at United for these three signings but keep at it there is still loads to be done.