This summer was always going to be a busy one for Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.

A lot of players not up to the (Premier League) job needing to be found new homes.

Many players needed who can do the (Premier League) job.

The bottom line is that there is a very clear connection between the two things.

To help get the right signings in, Newcastle United have to be able to shift as many as possible of the players who are not good enough.

We had already seen Florian Thauvin depart for a reported fee of £10m after a permanent deal clause was inserted in last season’s loan deal at Marseille.

On top of that, it has also been confirmed that Vurnon Anita, Haris Vuckic, Sammy Ameobi, Lubomir Satka and a host of younger players have all been allowed to leave, with no new contract offered. In addition, Yoan Gouffran has failed as yet to agree a short-term new deal, so every chance he will also move on.

Thursday morning though has seen Newcastle United release an official statement, revealing that defender Kevin Mbabu has been sold.

The 22 year old has been sold for an ‘undisclosed fee’ to BSC Young Boys, where he spent the whole of the past season on loan.

He, in my opinion, is NOT one we should have sold, or needed to.

Yes, in Rafa we do indeed trust, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also have our own opinions and that sometimes, the Newcastle boss might just get it wrong. Signings such as Lazaar and Sels proving that Rafa Benitez is indeed just a mere mortal, like the rest of us, prone to sometimes things not working out as intended.

Selling Mbabu can’t have been too difficult, a young promising defender who wouldn’t have been on massive wages and who had shown good form in the season just gone.

Which brings us to…Emmanuel Riviere, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Henri Saivet, Siem de Jong, Achraf Lazaar, Matz Sels, Grant Hanley and many more.

These are players who are on (relatively) massive wages and haven’t shown great form for Newcastle, or their loan clubs this past year (and beyond in certain cases).

With Thauvin, Anita, Mbabu and others already leaving, that is £10m+ in transfer fees and a lot of wages saved, with only £6.2m Christian Atsu coming into the club.

However, those transfer fees and wages saved, is only the tip of the iceberg if Rafa can weave his magic and move Riviere, de Jong, Mitrovic and others along.

It won’t be easy though, with no doubt Newcastle having had to subsidise the wages of Saivet, de Jong, Riviere and Krul this past year.

Mike Ashley’s disastrous transfer policy leaving NUFC with so many players not good enough for the Premier League but on PL wages and contracts that are far too long (for example Riviere still having three years of a six year contract remaining, the same being the case for Siem de Jong).

If you add Chancel Mbemba to the mix as he doesn’t appear wanted by Rafa, then also factor in some of Rafa’s signings that were short-term or haven’t worked out (Murphy, Lazaar, Gamez, Sels, Hanley, Diame), if you can get other clubs to take on these players and their wages, the Newcastle squad can start to take shape.

People talk of Rafa only maybe wanting/needing five or six new players this summer but I foresee similar to last season and there being closer to the 12 brought in a year ago.

On top of the £10m+ for Thauvin & Mbaba, I think you could easily add another £20m/£25m or more, if buyers are found for Mitrovic, Mbemba, de Jong, Roviere, Krul and others.

A manager’s skills in the transfer market are arguably just as important when it comes to being able to move the right players on, as well as bringing in the right ones to complement what you have already got.

Only 18 days until pre-season starts and 58 days until the Premier League kicks off, good luck Rafa – you are going to need it!

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Dan Robson

    Why are you putting Mitrovic in the same bracket as that garbage? bloke tries his heart out every time he puts a shirt on. People like whoever wrote this, slate players for lack of effort, then slate players who physically couldn’t try harder. Pathetic.

    • 1957

      It’s long been the Mag agenda that Mitrovic should go, Graham Porter, one of the staff writers, has written numerous articles advocating his sale, citing lack of goals, indiscipline, lack of pace/effort and simply Benitez not liking Mitrovic. The first three shortcomings don’t seem to be a problem though when he plays for Serbia.

      Mitrovic will leave for the simple reason he doesn’t fit with Benitez preferred style of play and the need for a quick mobile striker to make it work. He will easily find a club, probably playing European football and in another tactical system will score goals.

      • Mike

        guy doesnt have a strikers instinct for goal not a prem player sorry

        • 1957

          In terms of the PL you could argue the same about Gayle, 15 goals in 64 games compared to Mitrovic 9 in 36 roughly similar. Some will argue Gayle didn’t get regular starts, but he scored a good proportion of his goals as a sub.
          Neither will score enough to keep us up, we need better quality in front of goal

        • Geordiegiants

          His misses in the premier probably cost us relegation.

    • Geordiegiants

      Do you say the same about Colback?

  • steve

    What a load of nonsense, other than saying he’s happy for them to leave the manager has absolutely no input in selling players.

  • Samuel Brown

    Dale, Do us a favour, Go support another team mate. If you don’t want to support the players that put on the black and white shirt don’t support Newcastle.

    Secondly, you go and have a little google and come back to me when you find a striker like Mitrovic who has scored more than 90 senior career goals for club and country by the age of 22 including 5 in his last 5 for Serbia. You don’t have a clue

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      i rate Mitro but he`s never going to fit into Rafa`s style of play, as for the rest half of what we bought last summer just aren`t up to scatch

      • Samuel Brown

        What I think people fail to comprehend is Mitro is a 22 year old target man.
        Players like M Owen, Rashford, small quick pacey players will explode on the scene when their young because of their style of play
        Players like Mitro, say Diego Costa, LLorente, Adruiz etc etc target men develop a lot later in their careers, we should be spending this time helping mitrovic to become a top striker. He’s not the finished article, but with help, I see no reason why he couldn’t potentially become a 20 goal a season striker

        • IAmYTM

          I had intended on writing an opinion piece on Mitro but haven’t had the time but I can tell you a lot of people judge him unfairly for what he gives back.
          For instance in the 10 games Rafa was in charge for the last Premier league campaign Rafa gave him the equivalent of 5 games of playing time (3 full games and a few sub appearances) and in that time he scored 4 goals and got two assists.

          Last campaign – only failed to provide a goal or an assist in 3 games where he played more than 70 minutes

          Has 7 in 7 for Serbia

          Only 22.

          Madness how underrated he is on here sometimes.

          • Geordiegiants

            Madness how over rated you mean.

          • IAmYTM

            Nah mate I don’t. Nice argument though, you sound like my niece when she argues a point “nahuh YOU smell”

          • Geordiegiants

            I’ve got to say, a very grown up response 🤓.

        • Mathew Barlow

          1/2 – I share your opinion on Mitro, I just don’t know if he fits into Rafa’s system as first choice, even before we sign another striker, and he’ll need regular games to reach his potential…

        • Mathew Barlow

          2/2- And if that’s the case I’d prefer Rafa to be with us for the next 5 years than Mitro, even though I do like him.

        • Geordiegiants

          He can’t hit a barn door. His misses cost us dearly last time in the premier. He is a nice lad, but he just isn’t good enough.

      • 1957

        Young players like Mitrovic will have no problem finding new clubs, whose coaches want to play with target man and players running off him in the same way Serbia use him. Mbemba and DeJong would also be able to find good clubs
        Our problem lies with disposing of the likes of Riviere, Hanley and SloMo. We will probably sell the first three and be stuck with the others

    • 1957

      Just 4 years ago he was player of the tournament at the UEFA u19 championships…

      • Geordiegiants

        He is still Shyte!

  • Mayor Vaughn

    Love the optimism.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Mbemba, we sell him who has shown he can play at premiership level & buy some French guy who cost a £1m last year & Nufc are going to lay out a staggering £9m for him.
    priceless

  • MadMag83

    We’ll do well to move Riviere on, couldn’t get a game for Osasuna in the second half of the season, and they were desperately poor. Might be a case of taking a hit on his transfer fee just to get him out the door unless a Chinese club wants him and is willing to pay similar wages.

  • mentalman

    you’ve missed Gamez, haidara etc there’s a long list of players who you could/should have mentioned

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    Stop feeding into the narrative that more should have already been done during the (not) transfer window. Hardly any incoming transfers have been completed in the whole of the league, so sending out urgent messages like this only breeds more fan discontent when it is simply not needed.

  • Wor Monga

    this article just goes to prove that you can put any rubbish out on the Mag as long as it’s negativity, but the criticism of Rafa’s dealing before last season was
    totally unwarranted…for a start he didn’t know he would be managing the club this time around until the window was about to open…then he had to replace
    players who had been the ever-present first team players, and replace them with enough quality to take the club up and yet would agree to join a dis-functional newly relegated side…

    …that he achieved his target was an amazing effort and worthy of praise of all the players who took part…some of those he brought in didn’t come off, but for the
    most part part they trained well, and were ready to go if they were needed…Mbabu wouldn’t have got near to the first team next season, and that would have been explained to the lad before any decision was taken to sell him on!!!

    • mentalman

      its a fraser forster and medhi abeid situation again, they are coming in to the final year of their contract and are told by the club they’ll spend most of it on the bench if their lucky, the player then says i’m not going to sign a new contract then so the club decide to cash in on him. It happens at every club in the country. i was more disappointed to see Mbabu sent out on loan last season rather than given a chance in the championship. obviously Rafa doesn’t think he’s up to the level he needs to be so we are cashing in to supplement the acquisitions of first team players

  • Damon Horner

    It’s not ideal obviously but why do people get worked up about these players who aren’t on the pitch? every club has their dead wood. Club gets rid they can re-invest but if they don’t I won’t be offended.

  • Mathew Barlow

    I liked Mbabu in the few 1st team appearances he made, but you’d think Rafa would be looking for left footed left back (loves a bit of ‘balance’, Rafa) and probs a more defensive-minded rb. Anita was in the team for stability when he felt he needed to win a tactical game – can see why he would want to upgrade that option rather than have Mbabu.

  • GToon

    My worry is the massive efforts made by the club in the transfer window seem only to be in terms of departures. Atsu is ok at best and in addition to him we have failed to convince some Chelsea teenager to join us. We seem to be interested in players until their transfer fee is announced usually by way of another club buying them. I doubt very much if this is what Rafa had in mind when he spoke to Ashley about transfers. If this continues much longer I can see Rafa walking. Lets remember it’s only about a month before training starts again.

    • steve

      The transfer window which hasn’t opened yet?

      • Geordiegiants

        I thought that, but there has been a bunch of prem signings these last few days.

      • GToon

        How are other clubs signing players? Is the window at SJP a bit smaller than every where else?

        • steve

          Considering we’re one of the few clubs to have announced a signing, which will go through on the 1st of July, no it isn’t.

  • Alreet

    There is alot of speculation about and until ive seem an offer being made or the guy with the shirt i wont think about who or when.

    Its nice to see the clearout happening. With anita ameobi and the other potential layabouts. Mbabu is different, i saw alot in him. But then again none of the prem or the euro big boys wanted anything so im not worried.

    Theres always a few names that sound good and a long list of clearouts that are even better. Give him a little time. The window opens soon and for all we know we could see 8 out and 8 in on the first week.

    Lovin ur work rafa