Newcastle United signed centre back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from Lige 1 side Montpellier for £6.7 million last night, and the young Frenchman joins with a view to making his mark in the future at St James’ Park.

Speaking after signing the contract, Mbiwa said: "Newcastle is a massive club and while we are not in an ideal position at the moment, I think we can definitely finish in the top half of the table.

"In the long term people talk about the top four in the Premier League and I think with the players we have got on board and the manager and his ideas, we can definitely close the gap, get in the top six and, in the long term, why not challenge for the title?"

The ambitious Frenchman is a quality signing for the struggling Magpies. His versatility means he's able to play anywhere across the back four, with pace, strength and aerial ability all available to the player. Indeed, he attracted interest from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger earlier in January, but no offer was forthcoming from the North London outfit.  

But, after winning a title with Montpellier last season as captain in France, Mbiwa was persuaded to sign for Newcastle in part by the number of French players already in the Toon squad.

"The way the club has welcomed French players was a very big part of my decision," he added.

"There are a lot of French players already which is something that will definitely help me settle in more quickly."

With Alan Pardew also pursuing Massadio Haidara and Yoan Gouffran, there could be a total of eight Frenchman in the Newcastle squad by the end of the January transfer window.


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