Olympique de Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has been heavily linked with Newcastle United move during January transfer window, but he has rejected that out of hand with them looking relegation certainties.
However, the Magpies could have chance to sign him up, as they targeting to return in Premier League and will be an excellent addition. The 22-times capped France international has long been rated as one of the finest goalkeepers in Europe, having racked up over 400 appearances for Marseille since joining from Le Havre in 2007.
With Newcastle’s first-choice stopper Tim Krul often struggling due to injuries, it is a necessity that the St’ James Park club to have another quality and experienced goalie in the squad.
Also, the Magpies owner Mike Ashley admitted there was ‘virtually nothing left’ in Newcastle bank account, after spending almost £150m during previous transfer windows. While Mandanda sees his contract end in June and will be available for free – making him an attractive option for the NUFC owner.
Here are several interesting facts about Marseille shot-stopper, who had an unsuccessful trial at Aston Villa in 2007 and could be ready for the new challenges once again, as his club are 13th in Ligue 1, far-far away from Champions League spot.
- Best save % in Ligue 1 in 2016 with min 15 shots on target faced: Kevin Trapp 82%, Steve Mandanda 80%, Danijel Subasic 78%
- Mandanda has made 5+ saves in three L1 games in a row for the 1st time in his career (6 v TFC, 5 v GFCA & 6 v FCL so far). (March 12)
- France have won 66.7% of their games with Mandanda starting.
- The Ligue 1 Team of the Year (2015): Mandanda; Jallet, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell; Payet, Verratti, Pastore; Lacazette, Ibrahimovic, Fekir.
- In 2014, with a rate of 76.92%, Mandanda was among the high average European stoppers, as Manuel Neuer (90.32%) and Gianluigi Buffon (84.62%) remained untouchable.
Reportedly, United manager Rafa Benitez is to explore the club’s options regarding Rob Elliott’s season-ending injury and the 31-year-old Frenchman will definitely be in the Spaniard’s shortlist.