Newcastle United reportedly interested in the "Next Claude Makelele"

St James Park

Reports today suggest that Newcastle United have scouted 21-year old French midfielder Nampalys Mendy from Ligue 1 side Nice.

Reports in France Football today have suggested that Newcastle United have sent scouts on a number of occasions to watch OGC Nice midfielder Nampalys Mendy this season. The 21-year-old has just finished his first season at the club, but it seems that the English club are keen on bringing him to the Premier League this summer.

Mendy moved on a free transfer last summer after his contract ran out at AS Monaco. He was part of the side that helped Claudio Ranieri’s side win the Ligue 2 title, with Mendy the captain and influential part of the side.

At the end of the season Ranieri labelled Mendy Monaco’s best player and was loathed to lose him, but the French under-21 international was not high-profile enough for Monaco’s new regime and the defensive midfielder was allowed to leave on a free transfer.

Manchester United were meant to be very interested in the then 20-year-old, now the midfielder has played over 100 games in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, he has been labelled a future captain of France and is highly regarded as one of French football’s brightest prospects.

For the past three seasons he has been named as one of the 50 best young players in the country by website French Football Weekly, first appearing on the list in 2012. He is in contract with Nice until 2017 after signing a four-year deal last summer, the Riviera club would be loathed to lose him so quickly, but any bid of around six or seven million euros could be enough to tempt Les Aiglons into making a deal.

Mendy is a competitive defensive midfielder, despite his size he is no stranger to a strong tackle and rarely loses out in battles of strength. His positional skills are second to none and does his best work while breaking up opposition attacks.

All of Nice’s play usually goes through Mendy, he is a calm individual and rarely looks rushed on the ball. He often draws comparisons with Claude Makelele and does a very similar job that the France legend did so well with Chelsea.

If Mendy continues to develop as he has in the past three years, a team like Newcastle United would be making a move before interest in the midfielder increases further.

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