Anderlecht sporting director Luc Devroe has confirmed that a deal with Newcastle United has been agreed to bring Chancel Mbemba back to the Belgian side after three years on Tyneside.
Speaking to Voetbal Krant, Devroe spoke openly on a deal being agreed with Mbemba's agent for a summer transfer. However, the move looks to have been thrown into doubt after an Porto reportedly came in for the centre back at the last minute.
Devroe explained that "We were already very far in the negotiations, we were really sure he would come back.
“There was already an agreement with his broker…But it is the player who still has to sign, that did not happen when another club showed up.” The interest from Portuguese champions Porto may hamper proceedings as Mbemba questions where he'd rather play, and Newcastle consider a higher offer from the Portuguese giants.
Mbemba was an outcast at St. James' Park for most of last season. He only made 11 appearances in total for the Magpies and not appearing in any of Newcastle's Premier League match-day squads since the turn of the year has made a move away seem like an inevitability for the Congolese international.
After progressing through the youth ranks at Anderlecht, the defender made his move to the Premier League in the summer of 2015.
Making 35 appearances in his first season looked to set the 23-year-old up for a regular place for his new club. However, since Rafael Benitez's arrival Mbemba as slowly fallen down the ranks of the Spaniard's squad.