Jul
7
2011

Cheikh M’bengue, A Good Replacement for Jose Enrique?

It now looks all but certain that the Spanish left back Jose Enrique will leave Newcastle United before the new season starts. Whether he will be much better off at a rebuilding Liverpool team or at Arsenal (where they are likely to lose Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri or maybe even both of them) remains to be seen. At the end of the day Jose will have to decide which team’s future he believes in.

Jose Enrique has been a very influential player for Newcastle United over the last 2 seasons and his partnership with his “amigo” Jonas Gutierrez down the left side of the pitch has been key in starting attacks. Their final deliveries may not have been as good as the manager would like but in terms of effort and importance they were vital to the success of the team with 38% of the attacks occurring on the left side compared to 32% through the middle and 30% on the right side of the pitch.

Cheikh M'bengueThe one name that has been brought up as a possible replacement most often is that of Cheikh M’bengue. The 22 year old French left back plays for Toulouse in France, a team that finished 8th in the 2010/2011 season. At first glance he seems to match the requirements – young, French and hopefully hungry for success. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be very cheap with reports from France suggesting that a £5 million offer was rejected back in April. One would think that Alan Pardew would want to replace Enrique and buy a back-up left back with the proceeds from the sale of the current Newcastle number 3. Maybe buying M’bengue and Swansea’s Neil Taylor would solve this problem, but that would mean that Enrique would have to be sold for more than £6.5 million.

Let’s have a look at a performance comparison between Jose Enrique and Cheikh M’bengue based on the 2010/2011 league season:

DescriptionJose EnriqueCheikh M'bengue
Age2522
Height (cm)184182
Weight (kg)7672
Games (2010/2011)3625
Defensive Stats
Tackles per Game1.72.9
Interceptions per Game1.62.6
Fouls per Game0.42.4
Clearances per Game1.73
Attacking Stats
Shots per Game0.30.1
Key Passes per Game0.80.6
Dribbles per Game1.80.7
Fouled per Game0.91.7
Dispossessed/Turnovers per Game2.82.5
Team Attacks on Left Side38%38%
Passing Stats
Passes per game46.234.5
% Passes Completed per Game77%73%
Successful Crosses per game0.90.2
Successful Longballs per Game1.70.8
StrengthsDribbling, Passing, CrossingDribbling, Short Passing, Tackling
WeaknessesTackling, Possession LossFouls too often

Based on the above table it seems as though Cheikh M’bengue offers a bit more on the defensive front with more tackles and interceptions per game. His 2.4 fouls per game is somewhat worrying but he is still only 22 years old, so there’s time to learn and develop. Enrique offers more on the attacking side of things and is more involved in the attacking play than M’bengue is, but Jose was only credited with 1 assist in 36 games and Cheikh averages only 0.2 key passes less a game than the Spaniard.

I’m sure that Graeme Carr and his team have a shortlist with other left back targets should Enrique leave and M’bengue not be available. My assessment is that M’bengue has the potential to be a very good left back for Newcastle in the years to come, and these days it seems to be all about potential at St. James Park.

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About the Author: Roland du Toit

I am a 26 year old financial analyst from Durban, South Africa. I am a lifelong Newcastle United fan, maybe the biggest one in South Africa. With these articles I'll do some statistical analysis on a variety of Newcastle United related matters. As a passionate Newcastle fan I know we all have our own opinions and you are welcome to add comments and questions below. You can also follow me on twitter, but I definately do not claim to be "in the know".

5 Comments + Add Comment

  • Great article! Looking forward to the next one

  • Good article & analysis.

    He certainly ticks all the boxes as a replacement for José.

    Especially if we can get Naylor too for the money Enrique brings.

    Any spare cash and Llambias can put in the electric meter at the training ground for the underground heating.

  • nice article. I think this young lad would be a fine replacement for jose and I think him and taylor prob foa combined figure of 6.5 would represent a great deal for the club, and i would think 6.5 for jose would be a fair price, i know everyone thinks 12mil etc but personally i dont see that happening. These two would also represent better hope and options for the club than Wayne Bridge, though bridger himself is not a bad option. I personally think they will look to bring in two left backs and these tow would do nicely.

    1 left back out two in

    1 midfielder out how many in

    1 striker in

    arfa and gosling back in full training

    despite what money has been spent our squad is already stronger than how we ended last season andf I think there will still be another forward in.

    Another centre forward and these two left backs that would see me happy for the transfer window regardless of how much we would have spent,

    let these lads settle in then add to them

  • Hi!
    I’m a medical doctor working in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. I didn’t realise there were other Newcastle fans out here! Will definitely be following your blog Roland! And maybe we can meet up sometime?!

    Nina Kemp

  • Nice write up mate.

    We have been tracking this guy long enough by the sounds of it.

    You would hope that it would be a mere formality if Jose was to go and there would be no hassle finding a new left back. Especially when Jose goes on the last day of the window!!! ;0)

    Is he only linked with us though? If so, why?

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