Chancel Mbemba, another future star leaving Anderlecht for Newcastle
When I read that Chancel Mbemba would also leave Anderlecht for Newcastle I thought that Besnik Hasi would be the next one leaving the Belgian club for the Magpies. Newcastle have bought two terrific players for not that much money, at least in the Premier League. For Anderlecht it is a lot of money, money they needed after not being able to qualify for the Champions League last season. Besnik Hasi will have a tough year without Mitrovic and Mbemba. The former was the only one who scored goals and the latter was the only one, together with good old Olivier Deschacht, who didn’t let the opponent score.
Chancel Mbemba was by far the best defender in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League. Due to some injuries he missed some important games for Anderlecht last season but his impact on the club was huge. He linked up very well with Deschacht who has played most of his career as a left back, gaining a great understanding. Deschacht likes to keep things simple where Mbemba takes more risk, but all very well calculated. We can all enjoy strikers, wingers and midfielders doing some high level technique stuff, well, Mbemba is a no-nonsense defender who enjoys tackling, clearing up danger and heading the ball.
The Congolese defender joined Anderlecht in 2011. There was a lot of fuss about Mbemba when the Belgian Union and FIFA suddenly found 4 documents all with different dates of birth from the in Kinshasa born player. FIFA investigated the case after they found out that his two first clubs registered him as being born in 1988, in 1991 for a Cup of Nations and the birth date recorded by Anderlecht was August 8, 1994. Anderlecht sent hem back to his country as they were afraid to get sanctioned by the FIFA and Belgian FA.
Chancel Mbemba was devastated and thought he would never return to Europe again. For him, a dream came to an end. But there was some light at the end of the tunnel when FIFA let him take a bone scan. After doing this scan they could help ascertain his year of birth so Anderlecht could start using their talented defender. Anderlecht never gave up on him but could only let him play official matches for the club when things were sorted out.
Things would only get better for the Congolese defender. He impressed a lot during his spell with the U21 squad of Anderlecht. He was by far the best player of the squad but because of his age problems he had to wait a bit longer to get his chance with the first team.
John van den Brom gave Chancel Mbemba a chance in the first game of the 2013-2014 season against KSC Lokeren, which they lost 2-3 against an unbelievable strong debuting Hans Vanaken. Mbemba demonstrated in his first months for Anderlecht his ability and became an important player in no time. The technique gifted defender impressed à la Kompany and his physical aspect of the game is already on a higher level compared with Kompany at that age (assuming he was indeed born in 1994).
Last season Mbemba played less games due to some injuries but he kept on impressing. He also reached the semi finals in the AFCON Cup with Congo DR. He played as a defensive midfielder in that tournament, showing his flexibility in positions. His passing is from a high standard for a central defender and with his speed and excellent stamina, he keeps on running from the one box to the other. Scoring a penalty during the Third place play-off he helped Congo DR reaching the third place on the AFCON Cup.
Chancel Mbemba is ready to fight for a place in the starting eleven of Newcastle already. He’s mature enough and has the qualities to become one of the best defenders in the Premier League. His rushes also makes him an unpredictable player for the opponents.
With Mbemba, Newcastle already signed two players from Belgian giant RSC Anderlecht. Building up a good relationship with Anderlecht can only be good for them in the future. Players like Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendoncker, Dennis Praet, Leya Iseka, Andy Kawaya and others will soon be ready for another step in their career and they’re now already amongst the best players of their age.