Former Newcastle left back Olivier Bernard has been interviewed in the Chronicle today, and he has said Newcastle should do everything in their power to recall defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from his season long loan deal at Roma, where he has been playing some great football, and this week was recalled to the French squad.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa at Newcastle
This is a rare case of a Frenchman arriving at Newcastle and his career not going forward, but the 25 year-old has lost no time since he’s been in Rome in proving he’s still a good player.
This is what Olivier has said in the Chronicle:
“I really, really didn’t agree with the club on that one.” “I can’t understand it. I know Mapou and he has been the best defender in France for the past five years.” He was regularly getting in the France squad and I was delighted when he came to Newcastle.”
“But as soon as he came he was playing right-back, left-back and not enough in his proper position, which is centre-back. He is too experienced as a player to be playing right-back and left-back – he is not even left-footed.”
“He just did not get a chance at Newcastle and when you see him getting in the France team and doing well for Roma, I just do not understand Newcastle’s decision to allow him to go out on loan.”
“Of course I would never have let him go.” “We were not strong enough to allow such a good player to go out on loan. We have been struggling at the back all season, and we allow such a good player to go out on loan. I don’t understand it.”
Even when the news was that Newcastle may let Mapou leave over the summer, Mapou played quite a few games in the pre-season friendlies and seemed to play quite well, and we were hoping he would be kept for another season to give him more time to adjust to the Premier League.
But then on that last day of the transfer window he was gone, and our defense isn’t just a poor one, but we are now short of a center-back – at least until January.
Another mistake by Newcastle in a transfer window, by allowing a player to leave (for the money?), and not replacing him.
But there’s just no way Newcastle will be able to get Mapou to return to Tyneside, and it’s a lot more likely Newcastle will sell him to Roma, and that fee has already been agreed via the loan contract – so that fact he has been playing well in Italy will not even help raise the fee.
For whatever reason, it seems Newcastle were unable to get the best out of Mapou – maybe it was because he wasn’t played in his best position at center-half, but he also had some terrible games for Newcastle, when he looked way out of his depth in the Premier League.
Some will say it’s proof that Pardew cannot get the best out of his players – and Yanga-Mbiwa and Ben Arfa leaving on that last day of the transfer window were a case of two good players leaving Newcastle – who have great ability nonetheless.
Maybe it was because the Premier League didn’t suit the Frenchman’s style, and Italian football is far less physical and not as quick.
But we’ll probably never know, and it’s a little disconcerting that he is playing so well now in Italy and we continue to struggle in defense.
There seems something wrong somehow.
What do you think?
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