Ready for Mehdi
It looks like the French revolution has no signs of stopping on Tyneside just yet as Newcastle sign young Frenchman Mehdi Abeid on a 5 year deal. The 18 year olds contract at French club Racing Club Lens expired after the French side were relegated to the second tier of French football and it seems Newcastle saw the youngster as a good prospect with reportedly Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa selling the club to the player.
So who is he then? Well he’s a right footed attacking midfielder who can also play in a forward position in a playmaker role and has gained most of his experience from reserve level as opposed to first team but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good talent. He has also played with France’s Under 17 and under 18 teams with 14 under 17 caps (scoring 2 goals) and 3 Under 18 caps and certainly seems to be one for the future. It’s best to mention that this isn’t exactly breaking news as the player himself even said he signed with the club as far back as May but the deal must have only been finalised recently as the international transfer window officially opens.
In an interview back in May, he told French football magazine, L’Equipe:
After eight fantastic years at Lens, I have stagnated. I needed a change of air. I am not afraid to leave for abroad, I have had contact dating back some time and I visited the facilities there last week.
I even trained with the reserve team. I have had contact dating back some time and I visited the facilities there last week. I even trained with the reserve team. The leaders of the club told me about their plans and that they will rely on me for next season. For my part, I intend to give everything to develop in the Premier League.
In another interview he said:
I can confirm I have agreed a deal with Newcastle. I would not disclose the contract period as this is between the club and myself. I visited the facilities last week and had a trial in the reserve team. The bosses at Newcastle told me about their project and said they wanted me for next season. For my part, I intend to give everything to evolve in the Premier League. It is a strong league and I opted for it despite other options in France.
On his move he continued to say:
The management at Lens no longer wanted me, so I expressed my desire to move on. I spent eight seasons at the club and it was great wearing the shirt but lately my progress stagnated. It is with regret that I leave this club but I have had some good opportunities. I retain a lot of positives from my time here but I think I will always regret never having graced Stade Felix Bollaert. It was a dream for me but I soon realised it would not be possible. I’m not afraid to leave. I speak English and over there, some French players will welcome me back to training in July. I have already discussed the club with Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheik Tioté. They encouraged me and welcomed me. Now I will work hard and prove that I can play in this league.
I hope to be given the opportunity but must begin well in my first steps. I see no reason why I cannot do well. It would be nice to follow the examples of Adel Taarabt and Gael Kakuta who have done well at Queen’s Park Rangers and Fulham. I am very happy to cross the channel, but before leaving, I want to thank everyone at RC Lens.
Well, all I can say is good luck Mehdi and I hope your stay on Tyneside will be a prosperous one!
Below is a video of Mehdi Abeid playing at reserve level:
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