Quite a revealing nugget of information has been highlighted in The Chronicle today, claiming that fans would have been unaware just how close popular Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba came to leaving the club this summer – with Benitez ready to sell him if defensive reinforcements had arrived.
NUFC editor Mark Douglas wrote a piece discussing the five players who had four months to save their careers on Tyneside and revealed some surprising details on Mbemba’s situation this summer:
“Fans probably aren’t aware just how close Mbemba came to leaving Newcastle.
“There were firm offers that Benitez would have accepted if he’d got the cover in defensive departments that he craved.”
“But with no left-back and Mbemba doing a creditable job there at Huddersfield and against West Ham, the Spaniard recognised that he could not sell the Congolese defender – who clearly has talent but fell foul of Benitez for failing to heed team instructions in the Championship last season.”
As Mark alludes to, Mbemba has done a very good job at left-back – a position unfamiliar to him – and I for one am quite glad he wasn’t sold.
It has been mentioned on several occasions that his failure to follow detailed instructions and game plans was seen as a real issue by Benitez, with his poor english also believed to have done little to help that.
Mbemba is however an undoubted talent and player who is keen to become a success here. He is athletic, has confidence on the ball and is still just 23, giving him a promising foundation for Benitez to build on – if he cant climb his way back into Rafa’s long term plans.