Those concerned about the welfare of January signing Seydou Doumbia can rest easy.
Still yet to start a game for Newcastle, Doumbia has had only 29 minutes as a substitute so far for United and had completely disappeared from sight for the past month.
The only reports of his movements told us that he had walked out on the Ivory Coast squad in late March, whilst an interview conducted locally (in Ivory Coast) on that international break had Doumbia rather bizarrely talking about how he had fitted in really well at St James Park…
Just as strange, was the fact that no journalists had thought to ask Rafa Benitez why a striker with such an outstanding goal record as Seydou Doumbia was being completely ignored, especially with the team so desperate for goals.
However, Wednesday has seen Rafa Benitez confirm that Doumbia is still with us and is ‘working hard in training’.
The only problem according to the Newcastle boss is that there is now so much competition up front.
Calling it an ’embarrassment of riches’ would have trading standards after you and while there are now a number of forward options available, you think surely it must be at least worth having the January signing on the bench.
In the last three months, the only goals not scored by Mitrovic and Townsend, are Jamaal Lascelles against Watford in January and Perez scoring the consolation against Bournemouth at St James Park.
No goals for Wijnaldum in the last three months (none at all away from home all season) and only one for Perez in that period, when added to Cisse looking totally ineffective on his return, suggest trying something different.
Time surely to play two up front and with Mitrovic set to start, why not give Doumbia a chance to try and play off him?
Rafa Benitez talking to the Chronicle:
“Emmanuel Riviere and Seydou Doumbia are also working hard in training.
“So the competition between the strikers will be good for us –it is a problem for me because I must decide as we have more players now.
“When Papiss Cisse was injured we couldn’t choose him but now he is another option – the competition between players is good for the team.”
“If a striker like Mitrovic is scoring more goals then he will have more confidence – I’m really pleased for him and the team – but at the same time I want to praise Papiss because he created chances too.”