NEWCASTLE United are set to tie up a double French defensive swoop today.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara will undergo medicals before putting pen to paper on long-term contracts with the Magpies.
Their signings will give manager Alan Pardew a welcome boost as he looks to galvanise his side in the next seven days before their trip to fellow strugglers Aston Villa next Tuesday.
Yanga-Mbiwa’s capture will represent something of a coup for Newcastle, with United having stolen a march on a number of top European clubs to land the Montpellier captain who was attracting interest from Arsenal and AC Milan not long ago.
The Gunners were linked with a late move for him, but Montpellier chairman Louis Nicollin confirmed the 23-year-old’s switch to Tyneside – though he believes Mapou-Mbiwa will just use Newcastle as a stepping stone.
Nicollin said: “It had been agreed with my son (Laurent, vice-president of Montpellier) that he could leave if he found an interesting club. We will not cry. He is not irreplaceable.
“It is not my fault if he is an idiot. Newcastle is really not a good choice. He will be re-transferred next year.”
Yanga-Mbiwa’s fee is expected to be around £6.7m and reports suggest he will sign a three-and-a-half year contract, joining fellow French international Mathieu Debuchy, who was Newcastle’s first signing of this transfer window.
He could come straight into contention for a start at Villa as Newcastle look to shore up their leaky defence.
Haidara, 20, is not expected to be an immediate first-team starter, but instead provide back-up to left-back Davide Santon.
Pardew has expressed concern at Newcastle’s underbelly this season, with several youngsters not taking their chance when presented to them.
Haidara will stiffen that department, with Newcastle having agreed a fee in the region of £3m with Nancy for the France Under-21 international, who will be offered a five-year deal.
Nancy today confirmed Haidara’s move, saying on their official website: “After 46 games and two and a half years in the Nancy shirt, Massadio Haidara is leaving for Newcastle United.
“The two clubs have reached an agreement and will finalise the transfer on Tuesday.”
Reports in France have also claimed that Newcastle have had a £625,000 bid for Bordeaux forward Yoan Gouffran rejected as they look to find a replacement for Demba Ba.
Gouffran is out of contract in the summer, when he would be able to leave for free, but Bordeaux are believed to be willing to cash in on the 26-year-old this month for 1m Euros (£840,000).
Meanwhile, wantaway United captain Fabricio Coloccini met with Pardew yesterday to discuss his future.
Coloccini has expressed a desire to return to Argentina, with former club San Lorenzo keen on signing the player.
United are unwilling to let the defender leave during this transfer window, however, and while the club were staying tight-lipped on how the meeting went, it is believed the issue was left unresolved.