Newcastle interested in Anderlecht star with ‘four birthdays’

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Newcastle United could look to ease their defensive woes with the recruitment of a highly-rated Congolese defender currently impressing in Belgium with Anderlecht.

Chancel Mbemba Mangulu is regarded as one for the future of the Brussels club but found the early part of his career in Europe marred by controversy.

Two years ago, CNN reported on the confusion surrounding the defender’s true age.

When registered with his previous two Congo-based clubs, documents showed the that defender had been born in 1988.

However, the confusion began when his date of birth for a June 2011 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier was listed as November 30th 1991.

To complicate matters further, his parent club Anderlecht had Mbemba’s date of birth registered as August 8th 1994.

Meanwhile, the defender himself appeared to be under the impression he was born in 1990, thus giving him four very distinct dates of birth.

However, after clearing up any confusion, with the Anderlecht date of birth now recognised as the official record, Mbemba could be the next African star to head to the Premier League.

Part of the Congo national team setup, with 14 caps to his name to date, the young stopper was part of the squad that finished third at the most recent AFCON finals.

He played in all six of his country’s games at the tournament and even took and scored a penalty in a shootout victory over Equatorial Guinea in the third-place play-off.

Prior to that, he appeared for Congo at the 2013 tournament, where the age debate first began.

Linked to the likes of Porto and Atletico Madrid in the past, Mbemba’s Anderlecht contract is thought to contain a £6m release clause.

Belgian sources also suggest that Newcastle have been keeping close tabs on the player, with a report from the Het Laatste Nieuws claiming scouts had gone to watch the youngster in action.

The Magpies could certainly do with defensive reinforcements after a run of six consecutive defeats in the Premier League.

At present the Toon have the fifth worst defensive record in the top-flight and look likely to recruit new defenders this summer.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.