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.
“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.”