FEATURE: Mbemba seeks to make history in EPL
Newcastle United’s impending £8.5 million arrival Chancel Mbemba has set the bar high by admitting he hopes to make history in the Premier League by following in the footsteps of Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany.
Despite controversy surrounding his age- the player has four birthdays a year- Mbemba’s registered age is 21, and the talented centre-half is waiting to be granted a visa before officially completing his move to the Tyneside club.
What is not in doubt, however, is the DR Congo international’s ability- the Congolese’s impressive displays at Belgian side Anderlecht have caught the eye of United’s chief scout, Graham Carr, who has persuaded boss Steve McClaren to splash out for the star.
Mbemba is expected to pen a five-year contract at St James’ Park worth £30,000-a-week, and the defender wants to match Kompany’s achievements for City at St James’ Park.
Mbemba said: “I’m here to make history, as Vincent Kompany did before me. Kompany is a great footballer but also a great man who is respected and admired by all in the Congo.
“Is Kompany my role model? No. my only idol is Chancel Mbemba. I do not say this to be arrogant but simply because it is never good to copy others.
“I try to be myself and to make the most from the qualities that God gave me. It is with this approach that I got to make my hole in Europe.”
Mbemba’s transition to stardom has been remarkable- as a young aspiring footballer kicking a ball around the streets of the poverty stricken Kinshasa- Mbemba earned his major break in the sport after being spotted by an agent whilst playing for ES Grace in his homeland four years ago.
The man who happened to take an interest in the player was no other than Fabio Baglio, an Italian Congolese-based agent, who organised a trial for the player at Anderlecht.
Aged just 17 Mbemba impressed and earned himself a contract with the Belgian outfit.
The powerful and pacey defender made his debut for Anderlecht at 19-years-old after impressing in the reserves and the raw talent was immediately tipped for greatness by former Congo boss, Claude Le Roy.
Le Roy saw Mbemba’s clear ability and told the player that he would become the country’s greatest ever defender if he continued to work and develop.
Mbemba has continued to abide by his former mentor’s advice and after an immense season for Anderlecht- which has seen the player become one of Europe’s most sought after defenders- the Magpies have come calling.
From humble beginnings and a sub-plot of hard work and dedication Mbemba quite rightly explains that his high aspirations are not tinged with arrogance- this is a man with incredible self-belief and ability who has risen from a Congolese warzone to the most prestigious football league in the world.