The summer of spending looks set to continue as Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar MItrovic look set to be followed into St. James' Park by Anderlecht's Congolese center back Chancel Mbemba. There is no doubt that the player is in Newcastle as Twitter has been awash with stalker-level photos of the player checking into his motel, checking out St. James' Park and the like. As long as he passes his medical it seems safe to assume that we could see something announced on Friday.
Mbemba's story is a fascinating one. From his upbringing, his hard-work-paying-off story or the strange case of his four registered birthdays, there is no shortage of intrigue. Whether he is 20 or 27 (the player himself claims an age of 24) we know that we are getting a player who has a tremendous work ethic. He has Champion's League experience and had played himself into rumored interest from Atletico Madrid and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Highlights videos show him to be an offensive threat in the air and assured in the tackle. He looks to be a dream acquisition relative to the CBs currently in the squad.
His age shouldn't be a major concern at this point. If he is on the older end of the spectrum, we know we have a physically mature player who should be able to step in immediately and make an impact in the Premier League. If he is at the younger end of the spectrum, what we have is a player who has the potential to be a straight out beast as he continues to mature. The only situation in which his age really matters is to the bean counters. A younger age maximizes the sell-on value and dictates the time frame under which resale the resale window would be viewed by the club.
Placing his age aside, it looks like Mbemba has everything he will need to be a favorite at Newcastle. He's an evident upgrade over the CBs with which we have been limping through the last 5 years since promotion back to the Premier League. His work ethic will play well with a fan base who put a lot of weight into graft (see Gutierrez, Jonas). More than anything, his place as continued evidence that we may have turned a corner with regard to squad investment and short-term goals will be encouraging to Newcastle fans.