Chancel Mbemba is everything but a Newcastle United player. According to a release on the club's official website, a) A fee has been agreed with Anderlecht, b) personal terms have been agreed with Chancel Mbemba, and c) a medical has been passed. It's not all that easy, though, as (predictably) red tape is now blocking the move from completion. The FA has a panel that must review transactions such as Mbemba's prior to a visa being applied for. That panel appears to have a rigidly set meeting schedule as Newcastle have been informed that the transfer will be reviewed "On Thursday and not one second before that, thankyouverymuch, and really you should have looked up the schedule beforehand and wrapped up your negotiations in a more chronologically appropriate time frame if you wanted to have the player available sooner."
There is cause for concern here. Our immediate CB upgrade that should be stepping right into the fray for the first week against Southampton is now in a situation in which Steve McClaren will have to either select him with only one week of training with the squad under his belt or put of his debut until later in the season. Making sure we have the right player is great... if we can actually get him on the pitch. There would be some ways to get him into training while the paperwork process snails it's way through the bureaucratic corridors but although, for instance, Mbemba could be brought in as a trialist in theory, the risk to Anderlecht would be so great with the move still not 100% completed that it would not be allowed.
It would be easier to stomach, perhaps, if Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson had not collided with each other in today's preseason match against Sheffield United, directly leading to a goal. It would be easier to stomach if in addition to Mbemba, the club had brought in another CB who could man the gap in the interim to give Mbemba the time to get acclimated. Or if Mbemba, in addition to being the "right player' had been brought in at the "right time". As it is, the dye is already cast and we must hurry up and wait. Newcastle will start another Premier League season with another CB pairing straight from their year in The Championship. There has been plenty to praise the club for this preseason. This situation, however, appears to be a massive misstep that could have been avoided with a little bit of urgency.