STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Demba Ba of Newcastle United claims the match ball after his hat trick of goals in his sides 3-1 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Newcastle United at the Britannia Stadium on October 31, 2011 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Sochaux striker Modibo Maiga failed a medical on Tyneside Friday and will not be moving to Newcastle during the January transfer window, according to several reports. (Lee Ryder, The Chronicle) Maiga, who went on strike to try to force a move to the Toon in August, was set to command a £6 or 7 million (depending on who you believe) transfer fee, but club doctors wouldn't sign off on the move.
The development runs counter to reports from just a few days ago that the 25 year-old was expected to pass the medical "without any hitches." (Mark Douglas, The Journal) It was not clear from any reports what the problem was that caused Newcastle's medical staff to raise a red flag, but Maiga did suffer a knee injury earlier in the campaign, which has limited his appearances for Sochaux. His agent Karim Aklil insists that his client is healthy:
Modibo is in perfect physical condition and this was confirmed by specialists. I am surprised by what has happened since his medical and the diagnosis established by doctors authorised by the club.
More on Maiga after the jump.
Newcastle has ignored injury concerns for a couple of different players recently. Demba Ba has a knee problem himself that rather famously caused a £9 million dollar move to Stoke City to fall through, and the Magpies snapped up Sylvain Marveaux after his groin issues prompted Liverpool to pass. The difference here is that both of these players were available on a free. Since Maiga's transfer fee is significantly higher, it's understandable that Newcastle would balk if his physical condition is truly suspect.
Maiga's impending transfer has been rumored since the summer window was still open, so the development is troubling in that more resources will have to be used elsewhere in order to bring in another striker. While certainly a need, a larger deficit appears to be at center half. Other strikers already linked to Newcastle include Luuk de Jong of FC Twente and Olivier Giroud of Montpellier. More on transfer rumors as they develop.