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Newcastle close in on £7.5m defender Chancel Mbemba - the player ‘who had four birthdays’

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren
Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren

Newcastle United are closing in on their second signing of the week - £7.5m Anderlecht defender Chancel Mbemba.

The Democratic Republic of Congo defender has confirmed he has agreed to move to St James’ Park with the versatile 20-year-old following in the footsteps of ex-teammate Aleksandar Mitrovic in heading to Tyneside.

The deal is yet to be finalised but Mbemba - who shot to fame back in 2013 when FIFA launched an investigation after it appeared Mbemba had “four birthdays” - said it was his childhood dream to grace the Premier League one day.

“The transfer is not finalised yet,” said Mbemba.

“There are still some details to work out but it will go (through) and I’m proud of myself.

“I worked very hard for it to arrive and it’s a childhood dream come true.

“In Congo, everyone dreams of one day playing in the Premier League.

“In my country, it is the place to be.”

Mbemba shot to fame back two years ago when world football’s governing body FIFA launched an investigation after it appeared Mbemba had “four birthdays”.

Mbemba was registered by his two first Congolese clubs as being born in 1988, according to documents obtained by CNN.

But for a Cup of Nations qualifier in June 2011, his year of birth was listed as November 30, 1991.

To complicate matters, Mbemba himself, thinks he was born in 1990, reported CNN two years ago.

But the birth date recorded by his Belgian club Anderlecht is August 8, 1994 - meaning he celebrates his 21st birthday on the first day of the new Premier League season.

Newcastle look set to have beaten Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid to his signature.

A potential stumbling block in any deal is that DR Congo are not ranked inside the top 50 by Fifa.

That means Newcastle may have to appeal for him to qualify for a work permit under new rules introduced by the Football Association earlier this year.