Manchester City have revealed that Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Jesus Navas and Willy Caballero will all leave the club when their contracts conclude at the end of June.
Caballero joined for £7m from Malaga in summer 2014, whilst Navas was a £17m buy from Sevilla in 2013.
Meanwhile both Sagna and Clichy moved from Arsenal, the right-back when he was out of contract in 2014 and Clichy a £6m buy in 2011.
Whilst all four players are now in their 30s, it surely goes without saying that Rafa Benitez will at the very least have one or more of them under consideration as a potential summer signing, to help make that step up to the Premier League.
The United boss recruited the then 33 year old Daryl Murphy and 31 year old Jesus Gamez to give the squad experience and quality.
The important factor in all four players’ favour is that it isn’t as though they have been seen as past it by Pep Guardiola, with all of them playing significant parts in the Manchester City season just ended, players simply needing to be moved on to make room for new signings.
Between the four players, they made 125 first team appearances in 2016/17, including 83 in the Premier League.
Navas and Clichy are only 31, whilst Sagna is 34 and keeper Caballero is 35.
Only a fortnight ago there were widespread reports that Rafa Benitez had met up with Manchester City Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain, to discuss two possible summer transfers.
The two players in question were said to be Brazilian midfielder Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala, the French defender.
The reports added that the United boss is interested in a number of players Manchester City might make available this summer – but that these initial talks had concerned Mangala and Fernando.
As always, Manchester City have more players than they know what to do with and clearly Guardiola is having to clear the decks to now bring in more players of his own choosing.
Newcastle United have already stated that the transfer strategy will be one that will include both permanent signings such as Christian Atsu who completed his move on Wednesday, as well as loan deals.
In advance of meeting Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez had stated that rather than the discussions simply being about how much money he would have to spend, instead he wanted to present a vision of how he could take the club forward and wanted Ashley to buy into that.
It isn’t inconceivable that a significant part of that vision, certainly in the short-term, may well have been making signings of players who previously wouldn’t have been considered by the owner. The likes of Navas and Clichy would definitely be assets to Newcastle but even just matching their current wages would be far above what any current Newcastle player receives.
Manchester City clearly would have decided some time ago that these contracts were not going to be renewed/extended, so very likely that Rafa Benitez will have also discussed these players set to be released.
If there is interest from Rafa then it certainly won’t do any harm that once again Newcastle have a respected Manager who can help sell the club to potential signings.