Former Newcastle United defender sold by Rafa Benitez ‘close’ to shock move to Manchester United
The defender showed promise during his time on Tyneside but was allowed to depart after just a handful of senior appearances.
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Former Newcastle United defender Kevin Mbabu is said to be close to joining Manchester United after struggling to make an impact following a summer move to Fulham.
The Swiss international moved to Tyneside from Servette in January 2013 after impressing during a trial period with the Magpies. He made a senior debut as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat in a Capital One Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday just under two years. A Premier League bow followed with a start in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea just days later but the talented full-back just three more senior appearances before departing to join Young Boys on an initial loan deal in August 2016.
He reflected on his time on Tyneside during a 2021 interview with The Athletic as he described his determination to prove the Magpies wrong for allowing him to leave when he had shown plenty of promise.
He said: “I had an offer from Young Boys and I didn’t want to go back to Switzerland, but then I thought: ‘OK, go back, get back on track. Take a little step back but maybe one day, you’ll get rewarded for that’. So I just did it. “When I left Newcastle, I had it in my head that, ‘I’m going to prove them all wrong, to show them it was a mistake to let me go’. That’s what I’ve been trying to do this whole time.”
After a two-year spell in the his country, Mbabu earned a move to Bundesliga club Wolfsburg and his form in Germany eventually led to interest from several clubs that were reportedly keen to bring the full-back back to the Premier League. There were suggestions Manchester United were ready to make a move but it was Fulham that secured the 27-year-old when they agreed a £6.4m deal with Wolfsburg ahead of their return to English football’s top tier last summer.
However, Mbabu has made just two starts in all competitions for Marco Silva’s side, with his only Premier League start coming in a 4-1 home defeat against Newcastle in October. The defender has been absent from matchday squads for their last five league fixtures and Italian outlet Tutto Mercado have now claimed Mbabu and Fulham are in ‘advanced negotiations’ over a deal to take the former Magpie to Old Trafford.