Chancel Mbemba: 'Four birthdays' player joins Newcastle United

    (CNN)He's the player with "four birthdays," but age is proving no barrier to the progress of Chancel Mbemba Mangulu, who signed for English Premier League club Newcastle United from Belgian club Anderlecht Thursday.

    Newcastle announced the deal after the Democratic Republic of Congo international was granted a work permit. Mbemba had already agreed financial terms with the English club and undergone a medical evaluation.
    Mbemba's birth date recorded by Anderlecht is August 8, 1994, but confusion reigns over his date of birth.
      The defender was registered by his two first Congolese clubs -- E.S. La Grace and Mputu -- as being born in 1988, according to documents obtained by CNN in 2013.
      Yet for a Cup of Nations qualifier in June 2011, his year of birth was listed as November 30, 1991 and just to complicate matters, Mbemba himself, thinks he was born in 1990.
      "The case you've mentioned is still pending," said a FIFA spokesperson, after CNN contacted the world governing body to find out if it had made progress in the Mbemba case after launching an investigation over two years ago.
      "Please understand that therefore we cannot provide any comment for the time being."
      When any overseas player is signed by an English top-flight club, the Premier League would examine a copy of their passport to verify nationality and date of birth.
      Newcastle United declined to provide an on-the-record comment on the issue of Mbemba's age, while the English Football Association was not immediately available for comment.
      Mbemba's agent Fabio Baglio did not respond to CNN's request for an interview with the Democratic Republic of Congo international.
      "Former club La Grace president: "born 90, #Mbemba was aged (88) to play senior and rejuvenated (94) to play youth #RSCA, voilà!" tweeted Brazilian agent Paulo Teixeira, who told CNN in an email he is representing La Grace and Mputu in the Mbemba case.
      The two Congolese clubs brought in Teixeira to obtain money they claim was owed to them by Belgium club Anderlecht for training Mbemba in his formative years.
      "We are talking about solidarity contribution fee due to the move -- standard procedures," Teixeira told CNN.
      "I'm very, very happy to be here," Mbemba told the Newcastle website. "This is the biggest league in the world and I'm very proud to wear the shirt for this team and play in this league."
      Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren added: "He is a proven performer at the highest level, he's powerful, combative and will add quality to our defense. He also has an eye for goal which is an extra asset for us."
      Mbemba's story highlights the issue of age fabrication in football.
      In 2009, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was embarrassed in the run up to the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria when FIFA introduced MRI scans to ensure teams were not fielding overage players.
      Wary of the tests, Africa's competitors ran their own tests to discover a handful of Gambia's African championship-winning side were overage, while Nigeria was forced to drop more than a dozen players from its proposed squad.
      Age fabrication allows nations to field stronger teams in youth tournaments. The age of player is also important for the buying and selling club as it has implications for their salary and future sell-on value.