Newcastle United have clinched the signing of French international defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa after he passed his medical on Tuesday. Montpellier HSC, who he captained to a Ligue 1 title last season, had previously announced that they agreed to sell him to Newcastle, and the Tyneside club confirmed the deal on Tuesday afternoon.
Yanga-Mbiwa made his debut for the French national side in 2012 and should remain a key part of their setup going forward if he maintains his form at Newcastle. Montpellier has struggled this season, though it's been due to no fault of Yanga-Mbiwa. Their defensive record is better than seven of the eight teams below them in Ligue 1, and better than two teams ahead of them. They've only shipped two more goals than third-placed Marseille.
While Newcastle's first choice central defense pairing of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor is quality, the team lacks depth at the position. Taylor has struggled to stay healthy, while Coloccini reportedly would like to leave the club. Mike Williamson and midfielder James Perch have struggled in relief of the starting pair.
Yanga-Mbiwa is also extremely versatile, and has played both left back and right back. If Taylor and Coloccini are both in form and able to play, it doesn't necessarily mean that Newcastle's new signing will get nudged out of the starting XI.
This is unlikely to be the last signing of the window for Newcastle, who have found themselves in a surprising relegation battle.