Why Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa went to Newcastle and not Arsenal

Confirmation from Chateauneuf du-Tyne and from the player himself has Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa signing for Newcastle today.

Subsequently, there’s a lot of handwringing over why Arsenal didn’t sign Yanga-Mbiwa. The player was followed by Arsenal last season and was the subject of a bid from the Gunners this summer. Clearly, the interest was there on the part of the London team, so what happened.

Mbiwa happened.

First there was the interview with Canal+ in May in which the Frenchman revealed his first choice destination:

To play for Manchester United would be a great satisfaction and a dream which could become reality. Arsenal, also, is a big team.

Despite being listed as also-rans in the Mbiwa sweepstakes, Arsenal soldiered on with their interest in the player, tabling a bid in the summer transfer window which was reportedly accepted by Montpellier. The Frenchman, however, had his heart set on AC Milan this time and apparently, rejected Arsenal.

The chairman told me I have an agreement to leave. AC Milan came for me. But the chairman refused the offer. So I understood it would be difficult.

Arsenal came to make an attempt. But I was focused on something else. I was disappointed when I understood it could not be sorted out with Milan. The chairman is our boss, our godfather, the one who educated us and gave us an opportunity. We have to show respect.

And now he has made the switch to Newcastle to help them in their relegation battle, just a few months after agreeing to a contract extension at Montpellier which saw a nice bump in wages for Mapou. This has prompted Montpellier’s owner Louis Nicollin, “the godfather”, to publicly remark that,

If he’s an ass, it’s not my fault, but I think his agent has a lot to do with it. Newcastle really isn’t a good choice. He’ll get himself moved on next year, but it doesn’t bother me. His head was no longer at Montpellier, but it’s not a problem.

Last year, they contributed greatly to the title, but both Mapou and Belhanda are not the chief architects of our current season. Far from it. I would have been more unhappy if lads like Cabella or Stambouli had asked to leave. Belhanda and Mapou, it was already done and dusted in our minds. I’m not angry with anyone even if certain people have shown a clear lack of professionalism given the salaries they wanted.

To recap, Yanga-Mbiwa used interest from Arsenal to try to generate interest from clubs he would rather sign for (Man U and AC Milan) and when neither of those materialized, rejected Arsenal and  garnered himself a fat new paycheck at Montpellier. Then he spent a few months showing a “clear lack of professionalism” and with all the bridges behind him alight, sped off to Newcastle.

There is no doubt in my mind that Yanga-Mbiwa sees Newcastle as an opportunity to increase his profile in order to get the move he really wants, to AC Milan or Man U. Newcastle probably see it as a great chance to make a few million as well.

Someone at Arsenal must have decided that Arsenal don’t need to make a few million selling Mbiwa to United next season.


57 thoughts on “Why Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa went to Newcastle and not Arsenal

  1. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

    Competing against Laurent Koscielny for a starting spot at Arsenal AND a spot in Les Bleus might seem to be a good idea to some, but I’m pretty sure that the “Djourou role” behind Kos, Vermaelen and Mertesacker isn’t really that appealing for a young up-and-coming CB who has recently gotten his first cap for France.

    He is going somewhere where he will start, just like Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris, to name some other players Arsenal “missed out” on.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      We don’t need to be worrying about Cback or RB at the moment.

      The pressing need is @DM/Pivot where we need someone relatively big with authority and ability to keep possession for us. A combative spirit is also a very welcomed attribute.

      Victor Waiyama is quite a unit, built like a refrigerator and with neat feet, good passing range.

      10m rumoured from Celtic is a bit but his wages are apparently controlled.

      As a plus, he can be used as a CBack.

      @21, he’s still very young (Mvila). Another option is of course Capoue.

      I think therein lies the issues with us second guessing who should come in and who should not.

      Clearly we do not enjoy full briefings which include critically player’s attitude.

      Which is the reason why adding a player is not and off the shelf pret-a-potier affair. There is a lot more to consider when adding on which include angles out of our own control (player, agent, other club)

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1arsonwenger

        Our current scouting system needs a bit of work.

        Plenty of “Pret-a Potier” players seem to slip through our fingers in recent times.

        Michu for one. then Fellaini, Jelavic.

        Speaking of Montpellier, they have a really good winger on Remy Cabella. One to really keep an eye out for. He gave us a torrid time in the CLeague if I remember correctly.

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ignatzuk

        Grrr… Michu scores a couple against us and suddenly he’s the flavour of the month. He’s fantastic value for Swansea, but we don’t need him.

      3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1gunner17

        eh, we don’t need to worry about centre back do we???

        what champions league team gets through a season with only 3 centre backs?

        if we don’t replace djorou NOW, it will cost us 4th. 3 centre backs is not enough cover.

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    He sounds like a piece of shit.

    Nonetheless, we do need another central midfielder, in my opinion (and despite Wenger’s claim that we don’t), and particularly one that embodies every cliche known to mankind about grit, steel, beast, etc. I so badly wish the rumors about Wanyama / Diame are a sign that Wenger is looking at that position, but in reality they’ve been fabricated by non-entities like goal.com and caughtoffside, etc.

    Oh, the humanity!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori


      not the kind of attitude we need at Arsenal at the moment.

      The Sagna issue can be visited in the summer. If he shows imrpovement, it may be wise to reward him with an extension to retain valuable experience.

      If not, we should be in the market for another dedicated RB.

      mbiwa is not be all and end all, certainly not with that sort of application.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1arsonwenger

        May be some truth to the recent reports.

        With Wenger admitting (obvious) fragility in the position, can’t see why we won’t add a midfielder.

  3. -3 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    I’ve said it ad nauseum, so ther’s no doubt I’m a huge fan of this blog, but I don’t get this post. Everybody does this s#$t, this kind of positioning and maneuvering of potential employer and employee . It’s life. What’s the big deal?

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      The big deal is that he did it to Arsenal. Now, if he had done it to Tottenham, of course, I’d be laughing.

      There is no moral high ground in football.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Point taken.

        There are other stories more worthy of posting.

        Lots of rumours abound in recent days over Gourcouff, Wanyamma, Diame.

        Perhaps a broader discussion on the merits of some of these hopefuls may be interesting.

        certainly don’t see Gourcouff who I don’t think will give us the authority we need at the moment.

        Diame is reasonable but perhaps not the total solution which perhaps may suggest why Gourcouff may have been considered as Wenger looks further down the line to add with Arteta’s eventual replacement in mind.

        But being that we will be without Coquelin, arteta and maybe Diaby, our needs are immediate and certainly painfully clear to everyone.

        I don’t believe we will get that much more of a discount at this point waiting to end of the window,

        Wenger must move now for the DM position.

        The striker issue is a bit more delicate and complex.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Nah, he’s cack.

        keep him at Chateauneuf-du-Tyne. We have more French players down the line if you like, Chamakh (well he is Moroccan but he speaks French), Squillaci.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1micthemag

        he never done nowt to the arsenal u bid 5m in the summer monpellier wanted more simple as for another 2m u wud o got ur man but its us who are lucky to get im normally its us who under bid n miss out on we targets maybe fat cashley sees where hes been goin wrong

      4. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        We could have bid easily at 8m but his temperament was let say too continental for us in the effete south.

        We’re looking for a hard man.:D

    2. +16 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

      It wasn’t a big deal to me but it clearly was a huge deal to a lot of people who were certain that Arsenal had “missed out” on “another” player that they “had been tracking” who would “fill a need” and who went to Newcastle for “cheap”.

      So, I got interested in why this was such a big deal to everyone, looked into the player’s own statements and those of his (former) boss and the above picture emerged of a player who isn’t just simply posturing but is kind of a cunt about it.

      So, I posted this to remind people that not every player who is linked with the club, whom we may even follow for a while and whom we might even made a legitimate bid for, is the right fit.

      Also, I write what I want and you can keep saying this stuff over and over, but I’m g.oing to keep writing what I want. Thanks for the feedback though, maybe one day it will change my mind but not today

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1arsonwenger

        I think it gives us an idea of the slightly more complex issues surrounding transfers.

        It isn’t just about going out and buying the player you think has the best capability clearly.

        As has been mentioned, there are plenty of other considerations.

        I wonder if because of Wenger’s misjudgement on a number of players in recent years (Santos, Park, Squillaci, Silvestre, Chamakh to name a few), he is that much more cautious with getting in the right players along with suitable attitudes.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Redcore

        Mbiwa may be a c*** but his talent was obvious and I was one of those guys who wondered why we did not go for him. Thanks for shedding some light on something that truly puzzled me.

        I still feel that the club is missing a trick here. It should have some way of getting out news like this through unofficial channels to help fans understand things better. At the very least it would mean a little less ammunition for crap blogs like Le-Grove..

    3. Vote -1 Vote +1ignatzuk

      What’s the big deal? Ask that question again when someone bleats like a little lamb over “missing out” on this player. I guarantee before the season ends, we will see comments on here listing him as one of the players we missed out on and one of the reasons Wenger should be fired. I for one am delighted that Tim is getting his retaliation in first.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1J

    Very interesting stuff. If this is the case then I am glad we haven’t gone near the guy this window. We need professionals with an intent on giving their all, not disjointed egotistical self servers. Been there, done that.

    As desperate as I am to see some new players unveiled soon, I can pass on this one!

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1micthemag

    maybe the fact that hes good mates we debuchy n cabaye thats y he came nufc have a good contingent of french players as do arsenal but if ur pals r plying there trade at a club lyk nufc 52000 week in week out and lets face it injuries suspensions n not strenghtening in the summer has put us in a false position but upwards we go hwtl

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      Newcastle are pretty much a French team these days.

      Arsenal have English youth. How things change.:D

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1micthemag

        nufc have english youth altho not very good a must admit ameobi gosling been the culprits and we do have adam cambell the next michael owen but geordie born bred so not a greedy get like owen

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        It’s a bit more temperamental up North these days. Gone are the days of the cavemen who toiled with grit and guts.

        Carroll should be available from Mr Rodger’s neighbourhood for a cut price the rate he is working out at West Ham. he’ll probably score against us that said.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    BTW, Wenger finally admits that we are a little thin in the DM position. A little too late iMO.

    Frankly we knew this would be an issue with the mistake of losing Song last summer.

    Perhaps Song was exhibiting similar attitude to Miwa here so I’ll give Wenger the benefit of the doubt but clearly, with the injury institution that is Abou Diaby, we did ourselves no favours in reliance upon and over 30 Areta and an underplayed (but promising) youngster in Coquelin.

    There has been rumblings about this position so I do expect we will see an addition in this area.

    Less so the striker position which remains quite on that front.

    What price a bit of PL cannibalism. Grab Michu at very least. He is scoring freely and at 2m cost to Swansea, should represent a bargain even at 100% mark up?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1arsonwenger

      Maybe a need to try out Podolski further up top. We gave him one go at Sunderland and gave up on it too quickly.

      Not sure what we will do against West Ham.

      Fingers crossed, Diaby is fit. Haven’t heard much about Rosicky. If he is mended, he should line up next to Diaby (or Jack if not). Then Santi up ahead.

      Likely line up tomorrow pending Diaby fitness…

      ………………….Jack……………………….Diaby (Rosicky)……………..

      Midfield looks a bit light weight. If Diaby gives a good 60 minutes, we may be alright but as is, he is sounding stretched.

      1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Rosicky looks available.

        God forbid Yennaris or Frimpong but they are on the cards judging by pre-match training pics.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1davi

        I think Frimpong would likely get the nod over Yennaris due to his size but I really think we need to get Nico into the first team soon. There’s something very “Wilshere” about his presence on the pitch – even if he isn’t as gifted with the ball at his feet he’s talented and great at winning the ball back. If he’s fit and available we could do a lot worse than starting a young CM of Nico, Frimpong and Wilshere, with Santi either on the wing again or starting on the bench for Podolski.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

        Isn’t Nico a RB? Last season (cant remember which match) he came in when Djorou was making a mess of that position, and did a very good job.

  7. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Baz

    Sorry but this article sounds like sour grapes tbh, while I agree with just about most of it, you have failed to mention that he signed a new contract with mont out of loyalty to the club, so that they would receive a transfer fee for him! Both parties knew he wanted to move on to a better league and he did the right thing by the club! To say he was unprofessional is nothing but none sense! Try reading some French news articles and from mont themselves who state he has been 100% comited on the pitch! Why do you think he kept the captaincy?

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1arsonwenger

      He’s only reporting on what the chairman at Montpellier has mentioned publicly.

      Has got nothing to do with what Arsenal are saying.

      They don’t grow grapes in England and wine normally grows sour in France.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Baz

    Then why make judgements when only considering the mont chairmans statements? You are aware the guy is rather eccentric to say the least!

  9. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1dano328

    I’m frustrated. Why didn’t something happen on Jan 1st? I’m starting to lose interest. I won’t pull for another club, but I won’t spend any money on Arsenal until they show ambition. And it’s getting harder to wake up for the 7am kickoff’s and then have the weekend ruined.

  10. -5 Vote -1 Vote +1Peter

    What a load of tripe – sour grapes – you didn’t get an up and coming young French talent – get over yourselves – just because your manager is French doesn’t mean you have first dibs on any and all French players. For what ever reason – strategic, financial, indolence – the Arse didn’t carry on their earlier interest in this guy. That’s no reason to slag him off and make up offensive inuendo about him. Given a year or two, Whinger may decide he does want him and pays a truck load to get him – what rubbish would you make up then?!.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Peter (but not the same Peter who wrote the comment directly above)

      So 7amkickoff gives a reasoned piece drawing on clear public statements from the actors involved – including the Montpellier president calling the player an “ass” – and your best response is just to assert that it’s “a load of tripe”.

      Whatever floats your boat, I guess…

  11. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Vishal

    Makes a lot o sense. This guy comes across as anther Adebayor. I think someone should write an article on various things Wenger possibly considers before signing a player. Should serve a s blueprint to identify the reasons behind why Wenger rejected signing many of the so called trgets our fans think we missed out on.

    Great read nonetheless. Thanks for keeping it real. Hate the negativity of most other arsenal blogs.

    Cheer from an Indian gooner.

  12. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Michael Fournier

    Are any of you kidding any top CB worth the salary and transfer fee could earn a starting spot in Arsenal’s back 4 none of our CBs have been convincing this season. Not that Mbiwa was that guy I still say we should have moved all to sign Gary Cahill but that ship has sailed.

    It is not a surprise why Arsenal are struggling look at who the teams above us have signed and look who Arsenal have signed? Wenger still putting too much on a young midfielder Wilshere (as he did with Cesc but he was a Phenom) while chelsea sign Mata and Ramires

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Peter

      Vermaelen’s been off his game and Koscielny hasn’t found his best form either, but Mertesacker has been among the better centre backs in the league. Certainly wouldn’t be trading him off.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1davi

        Mertesacker’s been very consistent, but I wouldn’t rate him that highly. His lack of pace is exposed too often for him to be considered a top CB imo.

  13. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1walter

    Michael, from the moment Chelsea or City enter the stage for a player we have lost it. They can outbid us any moment of the day and night. They can double our wages without blinking an eye. That is the (harsh) truth.
    When we lose out to Chelsea or City I know we missed a money grabbing player. I’m still fed up with the thought of Nasri and other Adebayors so will rather have no more of those guys

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1edsrated

    wenger just wont pay big money for any players that would improve the team he would rather go out and buy more cheap french crap players the players he bought are just not good enough it meakes me sick too see us where we are now at the moment and its all too do with greed with the board and wenger bein a yes man too what ever the borad says wenger agrees with why dont wenger put his foot down and say too the board give me money too spend on decent players and if the board dont my not says he will quit cause this is a joke now when you see that yank owner spending 80 million dollars on a ranch than putting money in too the club says it all about this p###k of a owner arsenal are going backwards now rather than going forward

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    This is just it Tim, you’re absolutely right. I was wondering why we didn’t sign this guy, and couldn’t get my head around it for a while. I mean, he’s not one we “missed” – either we really wanted him or we didn’t – or he didn’t want us. There’s no way we “missed him” -

    - He’s French, in France, playing for a now-big team. Arsene knows France.
    - We played against his team twice and he impressed.
    - There was prior recorded interest.

    If we wanted him, we could have got him over Newcastle – if he wanted us. And why wouldn’t he? All French players want to play for Arsene, so we’re told. We’re a big prestigious club.

    But you’ve nailed it – he didn’t want us. And he’s a smart lad – he knows that if he moves to us, he’s sort of stuck with us – unless he’s shit, in which case he aint going to Milan or United. It’s not easy to move from us to United, because you get labelled a Judas. So he went to Newcastle, and as his chairman says, will probably move on shortly.

    But where will he go? Will Man Utd want him? Why no interest at such a low price now? If he impresses it is a possibility, but Milan is probably more likely. I suppose we’ll see.

    I’m starting to want to see Newcastle and QPR relegated more and more, frankly.

    I was bummed to miss out on this guy, but he’s probably not a priority. If he’s not interested in playing RB or DM, then he’s just fighting for a place as a CB – a place we need to sign someone for now that DJ Ourou is gone, but not a priority. If we have a limited budget in January, it makes sense to focus on our main targets. Which is unfortunate, but may be the reality of it.

    The question is, what IS our main target? Does anyone have a clue? Are we interested in Diame or not? Are we holding out for another player to become available for that position or not? Are we interested in a striker?

    I am stumped. A part of me hopes this mythical 30m bid goes through and it’s for Gotze (because I can’t think of many others it would be for, frankly) – but a Gotze-like player is not a priority for NOW, is it? Unless you’re pushing Walcott into the middle, in which case… urgh, it’s doing my head in.

    I suppose it will all become clear on the 1st of Feb (when we sign nobody because Arteta is back and we don’t want to ‘kill’ Gervinho).

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1davi

      Van Persie, Nasri et al weren’t “stuck with us”. If he’s really as big a c*** as people think, he could have forced through a move at any time.

      I can only go with what I’ve seen of him, and I was desperate for us to sign him because he is simply better than the CBs we have now. That said, I think it’s fair to give the club the benefit of the doubt here. If we didn’t really go after him once it became clear we might miss out, there was probably a good reason, and these quotes about his attitude or his agent might just be it.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerEris

    Well, you said it Davi. MYMbiwa is good enough to get a starter’s shirt with us, considering the CBs we have now. I watched him against us and have seen him in some of Montpellier’s games last season and he is the “beast” we need; recall how he shackled Giroud and covered the runs of Gervinho with dexterity that is ;lacking in our team these days. The kind of player you can put on say van Persie and be sure he will keep him quiet.
    Only Arsene will know why we have not gone for him; unless, of course, it is the way the player wants it, so as to make a bigger move easier, in a short time. As someone observed above, Arsenal won’t be selling another good player to United (or Milan, for that matter) in a big hurry. We do need a big presence in the defensive areas, whether DM, CB or full back, to lead by example; that much is clear to see.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

      Good enough to start? Maybe. What would bhe important is whether he thought he’d start. I mean, he’d have to be clearly better than Koscielny and Vermaelen/Mertesacker. And he isn’t a clearly better option. So he wouldn’t start. So he goes to Newcastle.

      Maybe this is what Wenger means by top-top quality. If he’s gonna spend money on a CB, he wants one who is going to move into the 1st team right away. And how many CB in the world are there that you could say, oh yeah, I’d start him over our current ones, no question. How much do those guys cost? Anybody who says Gary Cahill gets slapped.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1H

    That’s not what happened. Arsenal tried to sign him in August – he said no, and when his agent tried to flog him now – Arsenal told him to jog on. So now he’s stuck in Newcastle. Enjoy twat!

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Limpar's Wand

    There’s no proof we ever made a bid. Let’s not take that as a fact. We were probably interested, because he’s a good young french player on everyone’s radar and we’re ‘interested’ in all of those lol. Him saying ‘arsenal made an attempt’ is just as likely a load of rubbish. Who exactly ‘made an attempt’? Some agent?! Anyway, if you knew anything about lolo nicolin, you can bet if we had made a bid in the summer everyone would have heard about it from him. He’s quite a character!

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