Maybe a perfect litmus test of the health of Newcastle United will come by September (2018), with the whereabouts of Kenedy.
Obviously, this is presuming that Newcastle have survived this season, which was given a massive boost on Saturday afternoon.
Two excellent Kenedy goals setting the Magpies on their way to a 3-0 victory over Southampton, a vital win which put United five points above the relegation places.
Any position above 18th will be seen as success this season, the way Mike Ashley has treated Rafa Benitez is a joke.
No buys allowed in January 2017 and January 2018, whilst Summer 2017 saw Rafa forced to shop in the bargain basement, with gambles on the likes of Manquillo, Joselu and Atsu, around the £5m mark.
All three of them have played a part, to a limited degree, in Newcastle’s survival bid, but none of them are at the level of being regular Premier League starters.
No surprise maybe then, that since the January transfer window closed, that trio of players have only one start between them. Atsu selected at Liverpool as Rafa Benitez picked an unorthodox team which included three wingers.
The Newcastle Manager going for mobility to try and curb the scousers – Atsu and Murphy playing, as well as Kenedy (as a wing-back).
One thing has been shown about Kenedy, he is definitely not a defender, or at least his strengths aren’t there. Rather it is his ability to go past people and create, and score goals…, that catches the eye. Which of course makes him more useful and…valuable.
I have seen mentions in the media that Newcastle might be able to get Kenedy on loan once again next season.
However, surely our desire to improve and move on must be greater than that.
I don’t mean demanding better signings than Kenedy, more the fact that surely if Newcastle stay up and are looking to improve be more competitive next season, the likes of the Brazilian have to be gone for as permanent signings.
In only six starts, the Chelsea loan player has scored two goals and got one assist for Newcastle, which incidentally is the exact same return from Christian Atsu in 26 NUFC appearances (19 starts, 7 from the bench) this season.
Newcastle have nobody else who takes their man on and creates danger, apart from very occasionally DeAndre Yedlin on charges forward from full-back, Kenedy has given Newcastle a whole new dimension and in six games NUFC have only lost at Liverpool.
If we are to progress, and start to look like a normal club, loan players such as Dubravka and Kenedy HAVE to be signed on permanent deals.
The one for the keeper looks straightforward, reported to only be a £4m fee needing to be paid if Newcastle wish to keep him beyond this season.
No permanent deal fee has been agreed for Kenedy but so what!
To not sign him permanently would instantly mean that Newcastle were weaker for next season (before any other signings) compared to the team that ended the 2017/18 campaign.
Providing the 22 year old is up for moving long-term to Newcastle, the club should be putting £20m down and saying to Chelsea let’s get this deal done now.
Yes £20m would be Newcastle’s biggest ever transfer fee (paid out) but in today’s money, that is just a common place deal.
I can’t believe Kenedy has any long-term future at Chelsea, they have no real interest in progressing young players and only want to progress them, with the aim of later selling on at a profit. Even after scoring loads of goals at West Brom and Everton, the Blues were still happy to sell him on.
Newcastle (Mike Ashley or whoever else owns the club) needs to back Rafa Benitez this Summer and especially with signings he wants to get in early, before other clubs might get involved.
You had Nathan Ake who was on loan at Bournemouth for half a season in 2016/17 and after impressing, they instantly laid out £20m to get the deal done last summer.
That is what Newcastle need, deals like Kenedy, and others, in early to show Newcastle are looking to move forward.
Both Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans need to have confidence that the team are going to be increasingly competitive after this season of getting a foothold back in the Premier League.
Players such as Kenedy can make a difference and Newcastle need to add star quality, with the Brazilian being a perfect place to start.
Rafa Benitez asked about Kenedy after two goals against Southampton:
“He is a different kind of player to what we had.
“Comfortable on the ball with his left foot – his deliveries, passes, shooting, quite comfortable with his left foot.
“Still a young player who is improving, he has the potential to grow, be a much better player.
“It’s the challenge for him to be ready for the next team (match), or whatever, but we are happy to see him here and playing well for us.”