Belgian news outlet Foot BRC reported this week that Celtic are interested in signing Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba. The DR Congo international is among the senior layers who Rafael Benitez is willing to sell this month.
Benitez is a fan of Celtic centre-back Jozo Simunovic and The Daily Mail reported last summer that the Spanish boss was lining up a £9 million offer for him.
With that being said, would a simple swap deal but both Celtic and Newcastle United?
Benitez has reportedly given himself until January 20 to conclude his club transfer business and, considering that’s only nine days from now, swapping players is less time-consuming and less stressful than selling and they looking for a replacement, which involves negotiations with several different clubs.
Benitez injured signing Florian Lejeune but the Frenchman hasn’t looked a great return for the £8.7 million transfer fee and a move for another centre-back to partner Jamal Lascelles should be considered, given how the Magpies are only two points above the relegation zone.
It’s quite obvious why Benitez doesn’t rate Mbemba qualified enough in his rank, but if he is willing to swap the Congolese star for Simunovic then the Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers should not listen to the offer.
The reported Celtic target is well linked among the Magpies fans and there is every chance that Mbemba would be a brilliant move for the Scottish reigning champions, if the move materialises.
Of course, Newcastle boss might want to sell Mbemba to raise funds for, say, a striker, but if the two managers intend on signing another replacement centre-back for the pair then surely a swap deal saves a lot of time and effort in a month when transfers are notoriously difficult – especially at Newcastle.