NUFC: Why Alan Pardew Is Wrong To Sell Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

When Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa arrived at Newcastle in January 2013 as the Ligue 1 title winning captain of Montpellier, it appeared that the Club had landed a defender capable of flourishing in the Premier League. Already equipped with pace, strength and an unnatural ability to read the game, the France international was quickly suggested as the natural replacement for Fabricio Coloccini as our skipper angled for a move back to his native Argentina before the climax of the transfer window that winter. Despite reservations about his aerial ability there was little hesitation from the Magpies to fork out £8.5 million for Yanga-Mbiwa with the expectation that it was an obstacle that he could easily overcome in time, just as Coloccini did during his formative days in English football. But 18 months down the line and Yanga-Mbiwa's achilles heel is now being recited as the principal reason behind Newcastle's decision to put him up for sale with reports in today's Chronicle suggesting that he has been offered to a number of clubs across the channel including Bordeaux, Lille and Marseille. It would be a sorry and untimely end to an inconsistent spell on Tyneside for the accomplished centre-back who came to England with a glittering reputation but is likely to depart after failing to persuade Alan Pardew that he can cope with the physical rigours of top-flight football.
Some mitigation must be applied, however. Yanga-Mbiwa is sure to protest that he was asked to play out of position on numerous occasions last season, mostly at right-back, and was never been granted an extended run in the centre of defence by Pardew, whose loyalty to Coloccini, even through a bad patch, has never wavered. It is a sentiment we're inclined to agree with. But, as ever with the Magpies boss, he remains blind to the talent staring him in the face. It sheds even more light on Pardew's limitations as a manager incapable of extracting the best out of player of Yanga-Mbiwa's obvious quality and the Club's botched handling of his development. There popular theory is that Pardew feels Yanga-Mbiwa and Coloccini share too many hallmarks to strike a compatible partnership and perhaps that is true. But in tandem with Mike Williamson the Frenchman exhibited his undoubted class - most notably in the victories over Chelsea and Tottenham in which we kept consecutive clean sheets. For the sake of his career it would be difficult to begrudge Yanga-Mbiwa a move back to France after being excluded from the Les Bleus' World Cup squad by head coach Dider Deschamps. But cashing in this cultured 25-year-old defender before he's even reached his prime years shows just how wet Pardew is behind the ears. We know who Newcastle fans would rather see the back of first.
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Content writer, blogger, occasional journalist and lifetime inhabitant of the post-LOST island of grief.