Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

New signing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has revealed what Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said to convince him to swap Montpellier for the Magpies.

The 23-year-old agreed a five-and-a-half year contract at St. James' Park on Tuesday, having played for his only previous club since 2007, helping them to win the Ligue 1 title and qualify for the Champions League last season.

He will come into a side currently struggling at the wrong end of the Barclays Premier League table but Pardew's men finished fifth last term and Yanga-Mbiwa is confident that Newcastle's fortunes will improve in the weeks - and months - ahead.

"The manager wants to build a very strong, solid team and he wants the team to play as well as possible," the French international defender told nufc.co.uk. "I think that's one of the reasons he wants me there: to build a stronger team.

"He also explained he wants to close the gap on the top four, and I think that's one of the reasons why he wanted me to come so I can help him to achieve those objectives."

Yanga-Mbiwa has played at right-back and even as a defensive midfielder for Montpellier, but it is as a centre-back that he has built his reputation. However, he knows his versatility could be an asset to United and has not ruled out playing in different positions.

"I think that question's something you probably have to ask the manager," he said.

"Obviously he has an idea where he wants me to play, and I think that's probably the centre of defence, but the manager's the man who decides however.

"As you said, I'm quite a versatile player and this is our club, this is our team and where they need me, I'll be there to play in that position; to help out and make sure that we have the defence that we need.

"The most important thing for me is each time I've got a football, I just try and enjoy it as much as I can.

"Sometimes it's more difficult and more complicated than other times but all I want is just to enjoy each moment when I'm playing football and to help the team out as much as I can."

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