Newcastle United's French defender could be on the move

Former Montpellier boss René Girard could be set to make a move for Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-M'Biwa this summer.

Former French champions Lille could be in the market for a new central defender this summer. With Montenegrin defender Marko Basa possibly set to leave, and Czech defender David Rozehnal’s contract set to expire, former Montpellier coach, Rene Girard, could be set to make a swoop for Newcastle United centre-back, Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa. 

Ever since his move to Newcastle last January, it has been a turbulent time for the defender who lifted the 2012 Ligue 1 title with Montpellier. Often played out of position, he has sometimes looked off the pace in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League. In the last few months his performances have slightly improved and a run of starts has seen him settle down and look more comfortable in the Newcastle shirt.

His time at the club has still been far from ideal, and there may be a chance that any serious offer from France would have to be considered by the North-East club. René Girard, now coach of northern side Lille, could make a bid to bring the 24-year-old back to Ligue 1. Girard was the player’s coach when they won the league together in 2012 and Yanga-M’Biwa could be interested in reuniting with the coach who got the best out of the defender in the south of France.

Marko Basa and Simon Kjaer have been superb in Lille’s defence this season, but with Basa turning 31 last December, Girard will want to bring in another defender to boost their squad for playing in Europe next season. Lille are still in with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season, any attempt to qualify for the Group Stage would boost any chance of being successful in a bid for the Newcastle defender.

Newcastle currently sit seventh in the Premier League and are likely to miss out on European football next season, this could lead to the club cashing in on a couple of their under-performing French stars in a plan to rebuild the squad for next season. Alan Pardew paid €6 million for the defender 15 months ago, and although Lille may not be able to offer as much for the defender, they may be able to tempt the Magpies with a chance to cut their losses on the French centre-back.

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