Chancel Mbemba had all the makings of a brilliant Newcastle signing in 2015.
Arriving for £8 million, the centre-back was part of a big recruitment drive under Steve McClaren. The former England boss also brought in Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Florian Thauvin.
One is a Champions League winner, one got relegated to the Championship and the other won a World Cup. But what happened to Mbemba?
Well, last summer his time with Newcastle came to an end. Mbemba packed his bags, signing for Porto for about £7 million.
Many Toon fans asked why Mbemba didn’t get more of a chance. Under McClaren, he started brightly. While Newcastle weren’t playing well, there were signs that Mbemba could be a top defender. He was composed in possession and read the game well.
But once Rafa Benitez took charge, the Congo international’s minutes dwindled. In the Championship he only played 12 times. This was a surprise, as you half expected Mbemba to come of age in the Championship, much like Fabricio Coloccini did all those years ago.
Then back in the Premier League, Mbemba made just nine appearances. He was often played out of position, then once 2018 came round he couldn’t even get on the bench.
At Porto, things haven’t been much different. Last season he made just three league appearances, and two of those were off the bench.
A new season means a new start for Mbemba, but he’s taken up residency on the Porto bench yet again. So far he’s played just 46 minutes of football.
At 25-years-old, he should be starting to come into his peak, ironing out the cracks in his game that we saw at Newcastle. But that just isn’t the case.
Considering he was a centre-back. he often looked weak. There was also that time he was ruled out because of a grass burn…
The curious case of Chancel Mbemba continues. Just where did it all go wrong? Or was it never destined to go right?