Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Want Me, Says French Star M'Bengue

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Want Me, Says French Star M'Bengue

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

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 Cheikh will only go on Toulouse say-so 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. …

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