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Cheikh M'Bengue

Dr Venkman

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M'Bengue's saying we've had a bid for him turned down



Newcastle United want me, says French star Cheikh M'Bengue


   * by Mark Douglas, The Journal

   * May 13 2011


HIGHLY-RATED France international Cheikh M’Bengue has revealed that Newcastle United have opened the bidding for him – and said he is interested in the prospect of replacing Jose Enrique at St James’ Park.


Speaking to a French football website yesterday, the Toulouse and France under-21 left-back revealed that United have had an initial offer for his services turned down. But he said that Newcastle’s interest was “pleasing”, opening the door for a new bid later in the summer.


Quick, strong and attack-minded, M’Bengue is one of Ligue 1’s top prospects and has attracted interest from Champions League qualifiers Lyon and Marseille.


But following their careful approach to Hatem Ben Arfa’s rehabilitation, United’s reputation across the Channel is sky high and the club are looking to use that to help their summer recruitment drive.


Confirming United’s interest, the player said: “It’s pleasing. I have heard about it but the club have refused the offer.


“At the moment I’m not too bothered, I have an agent to look after that and he looks after my interests very well.


“We must see what happens.”


The fact that United have tabled an offer for a left-back will naturally lead to speculation about the future of Spanish defender Enrique, who is being tracked by both Liverpool and Bayern Munich.


The club will press the defender for an answer on his future before the end of the season, but United are clearly making alternative arrangements.


Enrique was hardly definitive in a television interview broadcast earlier in the month when he resisted pledging his future to the club. In it he said he would be “happy” to either stay at St James’ Park, or leave the club.


Newcastle will face competition in the chase for M’Bengue, though, and the player himself says he will only depart if Toulouse consent to it.


“As it stands I’m a Toulouse player and the decision doesn’t come down to me alone,” he said. “I’m contracted until 2014 with Toulouse. If one day I must move it will be with the support of my club.”


Of Senegalese descent, M’Bengue nonetheless qualifies to play for France and has 12 caps at under-21 level.


Renowned for being a tough-tackling player, he has had two long suspensions handed down to him by the French Football Federation for bad challenges.


The 22-year-old was banned for 13 matches in 2007 and for a shorter period in March 2009, but has improved hugely over the last two years and United believe he could make the step up to the Premier League.


It now remains to be seen whether United table a second offer for the player or look elsewhere – with Aston Villa’s England left-back Stephen Warnock another name mentioned this week.


M’Bengue’s team-mate Franck Tabanou, who can play at left-back or left wing, is another being tracked by Newcastle.


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Can he defend?


Just had a swift look on a Toulouse forum. They have his strong attributes down as his athleticism, work rate and dribbling ability, however they seem to think he is still defensively inexperienced and prone to the odd mistake.


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Could just be an Ashley ploy. Go in low with an offer you know will be rejected, shows Jose we're active in relacing him and won't be held to ransom.


Or maybe i'm just dead cynical.

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