Schalke signed Lille left-back Hamza Mendyl last week for €7m (£6.3m), but the 20-year-old could have easily ended up in England if it wasn’t for work permit problems.
L’Equipe journalist Domenighetti Joël tweeted that we were interested in the Moroccan international, but our inability to get a work visa meant a deal for the defender collapsed:
Récemment Hamza Mendyl avait failli s'engager avec Newcastle mais le transfert avait avorté faute d'obtention de permis de travail. Sa présence à Londres par la suite n'avait pas de rapport avec un transfert vers l'Angleterre
— Domenighetti Joël (@jdomenighetti) August 16, 2018
Speaking out on Mendyl’s potential move to the Premier League this summer, Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel confirmed that he could indeed have moved to the UK.
However, he said that Arsenal, not us, were the main rival for the Bundesliga club. He was quoted by Tribal Football as saying:
“I think he would have gone to Arsenal.”
Mendyl did go to the World Cup, but he has so far been capped just 13 times by Morocco. Combined with his lack of experience, it would have been hard to persuade the FA that the fullback would have been an exceptional case.
As things are, Rafa Benitez has been left with no senior cover for Paul Dummett at left-back, with right-sided defender Javi Manquillo and centre back Ciaran Clark the likeliest to deputise if our no.3 gets injured.