The Newcastle squad has seen a significant transformation in recent seasons.
This has especially been the case in the 17 months since Rafa Benitez has been in the job.
As recently as 2013/14 there were 10 French players who all played in the Newcastle first team – Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Mathieu Debuchy, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Romain Amalfitano, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara.
As it stands today, Florian Lejeune is effectively the only French player (Emmanuel Riviere wasn’t even given a squad number and Massadio Haidara is another the manager wants to get out of the club) in Rafa’s Newcastle squad.
Likewise, only two years ago Newcastle had Wijnaldum, de Jong, Anita, Krul and Janmaat all involved at first team level, now Rafa is desperate to shift Siem de Jong as the only remaining Dutch player in the Newcastle squad – Tim Krul not even given a squad number when they were handed out.
As it stands now, there are ten English players who have been handed first team squad numbers, the next highest is five Spanish players.
After that, the next highest is two from the likes of Scotland and Senegal.
Rafa Benitez is clearly seeing that he may be able to get more bang for his buck by using his knowledge and contacts when it comes to Spanish players.
This has also extended beyond first team level, with Juanito and Victor Fernandez amongst those young players brought in at Academy/Under 23 level.
10 x England
4 Jack Colback, 6 Jamaal Lascelles, 7 Jacob Murphy, 8 Jonjo Shelvey, 9 Dwight Gayle, 14 Isaac Hayden, 16 Rolando Aarons, 26 Karl Darlow, 41 Freddie Woodman, 42 Jamie Sterry
5 x Spain
17 Ayoze Pérez, 19 Javier Manquillo, 21 Joselu (born in Germany but chose to represent Spain), 23 Mikel Merino, 27 Jesus Gamez
2 x Scotland
5 Grant Hanley, 11 Matt Ritchie
2 x Senegal
10 Mohamed Diame, 24 Henri Saivet
2 x Republic of Ireland
1 Rob Elliot, 2 Ciaran Clark
2 x France
20 Florian Lejeune, 25 Massadio Haïdara
1 x Wales
3 Paul Dummett (born in England but chose to play for Wales)
1 x Holland
15 Siem de Jong
1 x DR Congo
18 Chancel Mbemba
1 x USA
22 DeAndre Yedlin
1 x Ghana
30 Christian Atsu
1 x Serbia
As well as the 29 given squad numbers above, there are another three players who Rafa is really desperate to get out of the club and they haven’t even been given a squad number – Lazaar (Morocco), Riviere (France) and Krul (Holland)