• Premier League

Yanga-Mbiwa departs Montpellier for Newcastle

ESPN staff
January 22, 2013
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will be joining for team-mate Olivier Giroud in the Premier League © AFP

Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for a fee believed to be in the region of £7 million, with the player penning a five-and-a-half-year deal at St James' Park.

Yanga-Mbiwa, 23, was captain of Montpellier as they secured the French league title in 2012, and had previously been linked with AC Milan and Arsenal.

He will wear the No. 13 for the Magpies and is delighted to have signed on Tyneside. "It is an honour to be able to come to Newcastle United and have the chance to play in the Premier League," the defender told the club's official website.

"Newcastle are one of the biggest clubs in the league, and I'm going to try and give everything I have so that the team can do well. I have experienced a lot of positive things so far in my career and one of those is joining this club."

With Alan Pardew keen to bolster his squad in January, the Magpies boss believes the arrival of Yanga-Mbiwa will give the squad a boost ahead of Tuesday's game against Aston Villa in a week's time.

"We needed to strengthen the team and bringing in Mapou will give the whole squad a boost. He is precisely the sort of player we've been looking to bring to the club," he said. "He is a good age for us but has plenty of experience at club and international level. Mapou is a talented footballer, good in the air and on the ground and has all the attributes to succeed as a quality defender in the Premier League. He's a good character too and that will be important for us over the next few months."

The France international advanced through the Montpellier youth academy and described his time at the club as "unforgettable".

"I have a challenge ahead. This was something I was waiting for and I wanted. Now it's for me to discover," he told mhscfoot.com. "It's a country where everyone loves football, where everyone lives for football and everybody wants to play ball. I really want to experience this culture.

"It's [Montpellier] my second family. I was welcomed with open arms and the club has given me everything. They formed me and truly gave me everything. Montpellier will be unforgettable. I don't know what to add. I feel that I have given everything, everything at maximum."

When asked about saying goodbye to his team-mates, he added: "It's difficult to say because I don't really know how to talk about these things. I don't like to see people emotional, it makes me uncomfortable. Because of that, I told them individually. They knew what I needed to say, that it was going to happen. It's weird that it's over - that I won't see them anymore, that I won't see my family anymore.

"Just like the club, they will be there both in the bad times and the good. They are attached to the club and to the players. It is a strong bond that unites us. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being there and for supporting us. Thank you for giving us so much pleasure. In my head, just like the club, they are unforgettable.

"I hope that they will be there for Montpellier, that they come in numbers to the stadium in the good and the bad times. I hope that they remain in this bond."

The deal is one of several the club are hoping to secure this week after confirmation that Nancy full-back Massido Haidara and Bordeaux striker Yoann Gouffran are also set to move to Tyneside.

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