Kevin Mbabu was far from a success at Newcastle United.
The defender joined the Magpies at 18-years-old in 2013 after impressing on trial, signing a three-and-a-half year deal with the Magpies.
He first started out with the youth side, then was handed the opportunity to go on loan to Rangers. It was a disaster, with Mbabu not even making it onto the bench.
Things changed in the summer of 2015. Steve McClaren became boss, and called Mbabu up to the first-team due to an injury crisis. He made his debut in the League Cup, then had the unenviable task of playing left-back in the Premier League against Chelsea. Incredibly, he more than held his own against the irresistible Eden Hazard.
Sadly, that was as good as it got for Mbabu in a Toon shirt. He made three more appearances under McClaren, then never played again after Rafa Benitez took over. Injury basically derailed what proved to be his final six months in Newcastle.
He was loaned out to Young Boys in the summer of 2016, then joined the Swiss side permanently. Mbabu wasn’t given much of a chance to prove himself in England, but now that opportunity has reemerged.
Kevin Mbabu joins Fulham
After excelling at Young Boys, Mbabu earned a move to the Bundesliga. He’s spent the last three years playing for Wolfsburg, whilst also representing Switzerland on the international stage.
And now he is back in England. Newly promoted Fulham have snapped him up, signing him for £6.4million. The 27-year-old has signed a three-year deal, with the option of an additional year.
It’s a good signing by Marco Silva’s side, and a chance at redemption for the right-back. He now has the opportunity to prove he has what it takes to be a Premier League defender. He can prove to Newcastle that they made a mistake in selling him five years ago.
The Magpies didn’t even make much money on him, letting him leave for just £100,000.
He showed glimpses of potential at Newcastle, particularly in that game against Chelsea. But he never reached it at St James’ Park. It’s a shame, because Benitez could have made him into a good defender if he hadn’t sold him for a nominal fee.
Newcastle made a mistake all those years ago. Now they will be able to see firsthand what Mbabu is capable of in the top flight of English football.
He will return to St James’ Park in January, and will hopefully receive a warm reception from the Toon Army.