Name: Chancel Mbemba
Current Club: RSC Anderlecht
Nationality: Congo DR
Position: Centre Back
Rumors continue to swirl that Newcastle have agreed to buy another RSC Anderlecht player only days after sealing the deal for forward Aleksandar Mitrovic. Chancel Mbemba is a talented centre back but not without some controversy, and really, should we have it any other way? Well, at hefty transfer fee of €12m should we take the risk? Is the young, or not so young central defender worth it?
First, the controversy, and that is Mbemba’s age; No one really seems to be able to confirm it, as it is discussed as being 20, 23 or even 27. During his early days at Anderlecht (2011) FIFA and the Belgian Union discovered multiple documents with different dates of birth for the player. Afraid of repercussions the club sent Mbemba back to his home country. After a bone scan was completed, assisting FIFA in determine his age, the player returned to Belgium to continue his career.
There have been comparisons to Vincent Kompany, high praise indeed and specific talk is of his technique. He seems to enjoy a good tackle or clearance, not necessarily a glamor boy attitude. Would a player like this benefit a scattershot Newcastle back line? Of course, especially if he is indeed 20 or 23 years of age.
*Important to note as before with Mitrovic I am using Anderlecht’s matches in the Champions League. I do this to demonstrate the players’ performance against stronger clubs then he may face in the Belgian league.
The biggest concern when reviewing the numbers is Chancel’s lack of aerial duel success, as it appears he isn’t much better than what Newcastle have already. Yet the other statistics appear to reveal a consistently better player then we have currently. The defender’s tackles, clearances and interceptions are glaringly better that Williamson, Coloccini and James Lascelles; so much so I had to double check the numbers with Squawka’s handy Statistical Comparison tool. What these statistics say to me is that he is indeed a technically sound defender, using positioning and smarts where he may lack in athletics.
While reviewing the numbers I did begin to notice something that I pleaded with other Newcastle supporters to think about during our massive dip in form last season; neither Coloccini, nor Williamson are as bad as we think, statistically at least. Per Squawka’s own numbers, our Argentine captain made zero errors leading to a goal. In fact Williamson made 3 errors in total last year leading to goals. Significant yes but hardly the worst in the Premier League. That said yes, we definitely need an upgrade and depth added.
I’ve also added a stat comparison of Mbemba and another centre back rumoured to be on Mike Ashley’s radar, Monaco’s Aymen Abdennour, who has also been linked with teams such as Manchester United. His price may be higher but that really has more to do with the club selling and the club buying, not the player’s performance.
The stats above are from the exact number of games played in the Champions League, 6, from last season. As you can see the two significant differences are in tackles won and clearances made, both in favor of Mbemba. So clearly the answer is at €12m Mbemba is definitely worth the Chance(l).
*For more info on Chancel Mbemba go to Benefoot.net and read the handy article by talented writer Bjorn De Cock
*Statistics are retrieved from Squawka.com
IS CHANCEL MBEMBA WHAT NEWCASTLE UNITED NEED?
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW AND ON TWITTER @90MINUTECYNIC.
YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW MICHAEL @NUFC_MONKEY