M'Baye Niang far from the answer for Newcastle United attack

M'baye Niang

M'Baye Niang has been linked with a loan move to Newcastle United, but 12 months ago the same deal didn't work out well for Montpellier.

Late on Monday night, reports emerged that Newcastle United had made a formal offer to AC Milan for the loan of French forward M’Baye Niang.

Sky Italia also believe an approach has been made and it seems that the North-East club see the 20-year-old as the centre forward that could add much needed presence to their attack.

The former Caen forward made the same type of move 12 months ago, leaving Milan for Montpellier on a six-month loan deal, and it’s safe to say that it didn’t go as well as the 2011-12 Ligue 1 champions had hoped.

Initially the signs were positive. Niang scored on his debut against Rodez in the Coupe de France, then scored three in four league games by the first of February. After that, his performances dropped dramatically.

In the next 17 games, Niang only managed one further goal for La Paillade and returned to Milan.

Niang was supposed to move to Montpellier to get away from some of the troubles he had in Italy, but the controversy followed. In February he was involved in a hit and run incident, crashing his Ferrari into multiple vehicles before fleeing the scene. He was handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a substantial fine.

Speaking to French radio station France Bleu in March, Montpellier president Louis Nicollin was clear in his appraisal of Niang’s performances and ability.

“It is a certainty, next year he will be better off at AC Milan. I do not mind, but we must not be taken for a fool. This is not a player for us. If you find he makes a difference, great. But I do not think right now he makes a difference.”

The only thing Nicollin was wrong about is that Niang would be better at Milan. This season, he has only played 24 minutes for the Italian side. Perhaps Filippo Inzaghi would love his young forward to gain some vital minutes out on loan, but it is a brave side that put their faith in Niang to lead their attack this season.

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