Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa targets Champions League after joining Newcastle

Latest French signing has high hopes

Newcastle's new arrival Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is targeting a place in the Champions League after becoming the Magpies' second French signing of the January transfer window.

Yanga-Mbiwa insisted he is undaunted at the prospect of swapping reigning Ligue 1 champions Montpellier for a side languishing just two points above the Barclays Premier league relegation zone.

Yanga-Mbiwa said: "I don't think it is a concern at the moment. Newcastle is a massive club and while we are not in an ideal position at the moment, I think we can definitely finish in the top half of the table.

"In the long term people talk about the top four in the Premier League and I think with the players we have got on board and the manager and his ideas, we can definitely close the gap, get in the top six and, in the long term, why not challenge for the title?"

The 23-year-old, who captained Montpellier to their unexpected domestic title last season, admitted he was convinced to sign his four-and-a-half-year deal by a growing number of French players already at the club.

"The way the club has welcomed French players was a very big part of my decision," added Yanga-Mbiwa.

"There are a lot of French players already which is something that will definitely help me settle in more quickly."

Following the earlier signing of Mathieu Debuchy, Pardew hopes to have more good news on the transfer front in the next few days with Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara and Bordeaux striker Yoan Gouffran all poised to join the club.

PA

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