Florian Lejeune became Newcastle’s second signing of the summer earlier this week.

Newcastle meeting his 10m euros (£8.7m) release clause and the central defender arriving from Spanish (Basque!) minnows Eibar.

The new signing met the media for the first time on Thursday lunchtime and via an interpreter gave some extra background to this latest Rafa Benitez signing.

Florian Lejuene said he thought it was a ‘prank’ when he first received a phone call from the Newcastle manager but then realised ‘that WAS Rafa Benitez’!

The Frenchman believes ‘Newcastle United has always been a Premier League club’ and says relegation 14 months ago ‘was just a little blip’, let’s hope we don’t see any further ‘blips’ in the foreseeable future, as there were a number of near blips before the full on one in May 2016, which came only seven years after the previous one under Mike Ashley.

As for how he sees himself as a player, Lejeune says he operates best as one of a pair of centre-backs or one of a three, encouraging the possibility of maybe Rafa Benitez playing with wing-backs at times in the coming season.

Players such as Matt Ritchie and especially DeAndre Yedlin are ideal for a 3-5-2/5-3-2 formation, with the pace and stamina to get up and down the pitch.

Florian Lejeune:

Newcastle United has always been a Premier League club.

“What happened (relegation in 15/16) was just a little blip. The club is back where it belongs.

“When I got the call, I thought it was a prank.

“After a while, I thought ‘yes, that WAS Rafa Benitez’ and I had to say yes.

“The centre of defence is my favourite position – as part of a central two or three (Rafa to go with 3-5-2/5-3-2?).

“I am staying in a hotel but I have had a look around near the river.

“Tomorrow I will have my house and a car and I will discover.

“I will give it my all – I always give my all – and it will be up to the supporters to see the results.”



  • Paul Busby

    I’d love to see some wingback formations rather than 4-2-3-1 every time. As disappointing as Mitrovic has been, I cant help feeling that he would work much better in this kind of system paired with another Striker.

    • Geordiegiants

      I agree with your first sentence, the rest is just wishful thinking. He is pure shyte.

      • Albert Stubbins

        correct. sad but true. Nee pace, no instinct for goal and a heed shaped like a ten bob bit. Would be a good signing for the Makems!!

        • Geordiegiants

          It’s a shame because he has a genuine love for the club, but it doesn’t make up for his lack of ability.

          • Albert Stubbins

            aye sentiment has cost us a lot in the past-I think in the championship in a 4 4 2 he would do well as a target man but no way as a loan striker. My son adores him but that’s largely down to the fact that Mitro clearly loves the club. He has to go for me- he’s had loads of chances and failed dismally. Looks canny for serbia but terrible in Rafa’s system.

        • Down Under Mag

          Strange thing is he has done the job at international level… has the passion but sadly just hasn’t managed to produce for the club on the field.

  • mactoon

    So if he got a call from Rafa what does that suggest about the level of involvement he has in transfers?

    Does it mean he chooses the players and actively contacts them or does he give a list of names to Charnley and he only contacts them once Charnley has approached them and got a favourable response?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      It means Mike`s Minion can`t speak French or Spanish so Rafa had to phone the guy

  • Rich Lawson

    ”A prank,yes I believe Graham Carr does a very convincing Spanish accent ?

  • Kneebotherm8

    He would have been a little more impressed with that call,than a call from Carr or Charnley me thinks.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Lets just hope this lad doesn’t turn out to be another David Rozenhal because he sure does bear some resemblance !

  • Wor Lass

    He definitely talks the talk …

  • Paul Patterson

    The idea of a 5-3-2 certainly sounds interesting.
    A few Newcastle managers in my lifetime have tried it and because it’s never worked, abandoned it quite quickly, Dalglish, Gullit, Allardyce to name but three, I think I can even remember Keegan talking about using David Batty as a sweeper in a back five.
    Let’s hope Rafa gets the personnel on board to be that flexible . .