Newcastle United's recent history under Alan Pardew hasn't exactly been a quiet one. From Pardew headbutting Hull City midfielder David Meyler to fan protests against his reign, the two parties are on an ugly collision course which has seen Newcastle pick up just three points from six games this season, leaving them second bottom of the Premier League table.
Pardew brought in the likes of Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback, Remy Cabella, Siem de Jong and Emmanuel Riviere this summer, but none of them have had any sort of success at St. James' Park so far, whilst the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Sylvain Marveaux and Hatem Ben Arfa were allowed to leave.
Yet one defender was pushed out of the club - Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. The 25-year-old centre back joined the Magpies from Montpellier for £8.5m back in January 2013, and whilst he helped his former club claim the Ligue 1 title the season before, he was played out of position on Tyneside, often being used as a right back rather than alongside Fabrizio Coloccini in the heart of the Newcastle defence.
With his form naturally dipping due to being played out of position and his irregular appearances - just 46 in two seasons - Newcastle made it clear that he wouldn't play much of a part in the team this season either, with Pardew's strange commitment to Mike Williamson coming to the fore yet again.
As a result, Yanga-Mbiwa left the North East for Italy, as Roma snapped him up on loan for the season after star defender Mehdi Benatia was sold to Bayern Munich. Yanga-Mbiwa was the third centre back to join Rudi Garcia's side, with Davide Astori and Kostas Manolas also arriving, but injuries to Astori and Leandro Castan mean that he's played a part early on this term.
Garcia will know all about Yanga-Mbiwa from his own time in French football with Lille, and he had no hesitation of sticking him into the starting line-up against Manchester City on Tuesday night; a critical tie in the Champions League group stage. Roma came away with a hard-fought 1-1 draw, and whilst Francesco Totti stole the headline with a sublime goal, Yanga-Mbiwa was the unsung star of the show.
|Team||Pos||Blocks||Tackles||Total Clearances||Headed Clearances||Interceptions||Mins|
The stats show how impressive Yanga-Mbiwa was. With nine clearances, four of them head, two blocks, two tackles, two interceptions and 100% success in the air, the former Newcastle man was the driving force of Roma's stern defence at the Etihad Stadium, with Manuel Pellegrini's vaunted attack only breaching the Roma goal after a bizarre foul by Maicon handed Sergio Aguero the chance to score from the penalty spot.
Yanga-Mbiwa had so much potential, and Pardew was unable to truly harness it as he pinned his colours to the Williamson mast. A solid player in his own right, Williamson seems to be a favourite under Pardew, which left Yanga-Mbiwa to look for first team football elsewhere, and with Roma having the option to make his deal permanent, he probably won't return to St. James' Park - and given Newcastle's defensive frailties, they may live to rue their decision to let him leave.