Loan signings Martin Dubravka and Kenedy have been instrumental in Newcastle United pulling away from the relegation zone.
Newcastle actually rising to the top half of the table before this weekend’s fixtures.
Whilst Dubravka has three clean sheets in his half dozen games, at the other end of the pitch Kenedy has two goals and two assists already, in his eight starts for Newcastle.
Those goals and assists have directly contributed to Newcastle adding seven points to their total – an assist for Lascelles’ goal in the 1-1 draw with Burnley, scoring the opening two goals when beating Southampton 3-0, then the very cool pass late on that enabled Perez to score the winner against Huddersfield.
More than these obvious contributions though, Kenedy has given Newcastle a threat, somebody who will take on the opposition and make things happen, plus he can also deliver great balls from free-kicks and corners.
Until his arrival, Newcastle had become very very predictable and the two home matches before the Chelsea player turned up, sum that point up perfectly.
Newcastle the better team against both Brighton and Swansea but struggling to create any real chances, never mind actually scoring goals. A goalless draw against Chris Hughton’s team and then actually heading to defeat against Swansea, until a fortunate Joselu equaliser.
The first and most important job of any club at the end of each season is to make sure they retain their best players but of course whilst Dubravka has a £4m agreed price with Sparta Prague, if Newcastle and the keeper decide to make it permanent, Kenedy has no such arrangement.
There was no indication when the left-back/winger arrived, whether it was Newcastle’s or Chelsea’s choice not to have a binding permanent aspect to the deal, or even an agreed price.
Which leaves everything up in the air. It would be a real nightmare if at the end of this season, Newcastle were already one influential player down for next season, never mind attracting new ones to improve the squad.
Rafa Benitez has now addressed the issue.
Asked about Kenedy’s situation, the Newcastle manager admitted that with the winger doing so well for NUFC, ‘there is a worry’ that any potential transfer fee will be increasing.
However, Rafa says that given the choice, obviously he’d rather the Brazilian was impressing for Newcastle AND his value going up, rather than not getting the attention for his performances.
The Newcastle Manager says that ‘The main thing for now is to get to 40 points and then speak to Chelsea’ about what happens next.
The former Chelsea boss adding ‘So maybe we can do it on Sunday night…’ after the Arsenal game.
Surely the reality must be that Newcastle/Rafa have already started talking to Chelsea about the player’s future, if there is to be any likelihood of him being at St James Park next season.
It might be only on a ‘When’ or ‘What if…’ basis but no reason why at least preliminary conversations wouldn’t have taken place.
To be honest, I think where Newcastle are now…and where Kenedy is right now in his career, it is a perfect combination.
In three years Kenedy has only started five Premier League matches, so any talk of Bayern Munich, PSG…or even Tottenham and Arsenal, is surely ludicrous. Why would he be swapping not playing at Chelsea for not playing at one of those clubs?
I don’t really believe the links with PSG and Bayern anyway and to be honest, Kenedy is doing well at Newcastle but he hasn’t suddenly turned into Lionel Messi.
He has ability for sure and he has been one of Newcastle’s best players but nobody is claiming for example that Bayern and PSG might come in for Mohamed Diame, who has been Newcastle’s best player in the time Kenedy has been here on loan.
Personally, I think Chelsea will do what they have done with so many players and which is their unspoken but clear policy.
Buy young promising players in and then loan them out so other clubs pay their wages whilst the player improves as well, then wait until a point is reached where an offer in made that is to good to turn down and/or the player gets sick and is desperate to leave.
Apart from one very brief and poor spell at Watford, this is Kenedy’s first proper loan move whilst at Chelsea and at the most, he will have played 14 times for Newcastle by the time the season ends.
What would Chelsea consider an offer too good to refuse for a player who cost £8m as a 19 year old from Brazilian club football?
Despite so few games, I’m guessing a realistic price in today’s market should be around £20m at the most but you wouldn’t be surprised to see Chelsea looking for £30m.
The West London club happy to sit back and see if anybody bites, then gamble on the worst thing that could happen being that they then loan him out again next season, when Kenedy could prove to look worth even more than that £30m figure, or shock horror, maybe even good enough to play for Chelsea.
My prediction is, sadly a long drawn out process where Chelsea wait to see if anybody reaches their asking price, before finally late on in the transfer window [late July] agree another half year loan deal with Newcastle.
Matters are almost certain to be further complicated with Chelsea very likely changing managers, yet again, this summer.
Bottom line is that Chelsea hold all the aces on this one, whilst it could prove a big headache for Rafa in his preparations for next season.
I hope I’m proved wrong.
Rafa Benitez asked about signing Kenedy on permanent deal:
“Yes, there is a worry the value [of Kenedy] may go up.
“But if you said…’Do I want him to score goals and the value will go up?’.
“Then yes, I want him to score goals.
“That is football.
“If you have a good player the value goes higher.
“But the main thing for now is to get to 40 points and then speak to Chelsea.
“So maybe we can do it on Sunday night…”