Rafa Benitez has given Newcastle supporters an unwelcome reminder that Yoan Gouffran is still at the club.

Talking about the injury situation, Rafa mentioned the former Bordeaux player in passing.

The United boss was saying how it was a big bonus having Kevin Mbabu back, as it gave him another option/back-up in defence, but he also then stated that Gouffran was also close to returning from injury.

Along with most Newcastle supporters, I just assumed that along with the likes of Riviere and Marveaux, Benitez had realised how rubbish Gouffran was and kept him away from the first team.

The last time Yoan Gouffran played for Newcastle was when he gave his usual shocking level of play in the defeat at Stoke before being hauled off and replaced by Riviere. He was then an unused substitute in the home defeat to Bournemouth, which proved thankfully to be Steve McClaren’s last match.

Previous to that, maybe one of McClaren’s worst ever decisions, amongst the many, was when he thought it was a good idea to play Gouffran in the centre of midfield against Manchester City. A six goal collapse quickly followed with the Frenchman nowhere to be seen.

Since then, Yoan Gouffran has never featured in any of Rafa Benitez’ seven games in charge, even on the bench.

The French midfielder/striker has a remarkable record, having not won a single Premier League game he started under the previous two managers/head coaches.

Not a single one under Steve McClaren or John Carver and you have to go back to 28 December 2014, to find the last Premier League game Yoan Gouffran started and which Newcastle won. Ironically that was Alan Pardew’s final game in charge and we ‘welcome’ him back on Saturday…

Though hopefully Rafa Benitez won’t be welcoming back Yoan Gouffran to the first team match day 18 any time soon.

Sadly, Newcastle will be stuck with Gouffran hanging around for yet another season, due to the Mike Ashley policy if giving far too long contracts to ‘bargain’ players who aren’t good enough. Whilst Marveaux and Obertan will at last depart this summer after five long years each on the wage bill, Gouffran has one more season, Riviere and Thauvin have another four and Saivet will have five to go.

All these players look set to stay at Newcastle until the bitter end, as their Premier League wages prevent any of the lower French clubs that would take them, being able to afford them.

Rafa Benitez:

“With Kevin Mbabu coming back, that is good news.

“Gouffran is closer, so we have some players getting closer.

“At least we have Mbabu, who is a defender and can help with the defensive crisis.”