MAPOU Yanga-Mbiwa was today due on Tyneside to complete a £6.7m move to Newcastle United.
The relegation-threatened club are hopeful the deal for Mbiwa, subject to a medical, will be pushed through in the next 24 hours.
And United will then focus on bringing a striker to St James’s Park, with Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Reading having underlined the need for both attacking and defensive reinforcements.
The result heaped pressure on manager Alan Pardew, with the club teetering above the Premier League’s relegation zone.
And there’s also intense pressure on Newcastle’s hierarchy, involved in protracted talks to bring Nancy left-back Massadio Haidara to Tyneside, to sign a forward to replace Demba Ba. Papiss Demba Cisse led the line against Reading, but he was again a peripheral figure.
Pardew wouldn’t comment on speculation about Yanga-Mbiwa’s imminent arrival after the game, but he again spelled out the need for more arrivals to follow right-back Mathieu Debuchy to St James’s Park.
Asked if the club was close to a breakthrough, he told SportMail: “I hope so – we need something.
“A result would have given us a boost, but we haven’t got it, and we need the impetus of a signing.
“The highlight, perhaps, was Mathieu’s performance. He was excellent. That’s what a new player can do – he’s not scarred by what’s gone on before.”
Mbiwa made a farewell appearance for Montpellier against Olympique Marseille on Saturday.
The 23-year-old’s expected arrival comes with unsettled captain Fabricio Coloccini’s future still to be resolved, with talks, postponed from last week, pencilled in for today.
The club was looking to sign a centre-half before Coloccini signalled his intention to leave in this month’s transfer window.
However, United won’t rip up his contract and let him join Argentinian club San Lorenzo on a free transfer.
Meanwhile, the Reading game, decided by two second-half goals from visiting substitute Adam Le Fondre, illustrated the lack of striking options available to Pardew since Ba’s departure to Chelsea.
Pardew wanted to make a change up front as the Reading game went away from United – who led at the break through a stunning free-kick from Yohan Cabaye – in the second half.
But he didn’t have a senior striker among his substitutes, and he left Nile Ranger and Sammy Ameobi on the bench.
“We need some impetus,” added Pardew. “I thought up top we needed a boost at 70 minutes.
“At 60 minutes, somebody to come on and change it a little bit. We haven’t got that option at the minute.”
Newcastle have been linked with Bordeaux striker Yoan Gouffran, who is out of contract in the summer. The pacy 26-year-old faced the club home and away in the Europa League earlier this season.
However, it is unclear is the club intends to move for Gouffran in this transfer window.