Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of highly rated central defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. It was speculated that Arsenal may try to hijack the signing, especially given the player's stated desire to play for a big club (and then pointing out Arsenal by name). In the end, Yanga-Mbiwa signed a five and a half year deal with the Magpies and then posed for pictures with his new #13 shirt.
Newcastle supporters will be hoping that new number doesn't bring bad luck in the form of the departure of Fabricio Coloccini, but for now they'll be happy to get a player across the line that will immediately contend for the starting eleven. Yanga-Mbiwa primarily plays in the right center back position, which will be convenient if Colo does indeed stick around. He is often praised for his calm demeanor under pressure and his positional awareness. He's also quite confident playing balls on the ground, a trait that will please those who have tired of the hoofball tactic that has recently taken over the club. At the very least, Yanga-Mbiwa gives Pardew another option and puts pressure on the other players to perform. It remains to be seen where he will sit in the pecking order, though it's easy to imagine an immediate starting role for the young Frenchman.
In other news, Yoan Gouffran told his twitter followers that he was ready to be a Newcastle player, while Moussa Sissoko appears to have signed a pre-agreement that ensures he will be in black and white stripes...some time or another.
Demain je serai un nouveau joueur de Newcastle et je suis fier merci a tous...bises— yoan gouffran (@YGouffran) January 22, 2013