It will always be an unknown what would have happened if Rafa Benitez has not brought in Martin Dubravka and Kenedy in January, as well as Islam Slimani up to a point.

However, it is very hard to envisage that Newcastle would still have won five games and reached 41 points, if the keeper and winger hadn’t arrived.

With loan signings coming in halfway through the season, you have to wonder about just how committed they will be and just as importantly, how quickly they will settle.

We are all sitting comfortably now, but it is quite amazing how quickly Dubravka and Kenedy fitted in, as soon as they stepped out onto the pitch.

Only days after arriving, the Chelsea left sided player was Newcastle’s man of the match in the 1-1 draw against Burnley, getting an assist and also winning a penalty which should have brought victory, only for Joselu to fluff it.

As somebody who had only started five Premier League games in two and a half years, none this season, his debut and subsequent displays have been remarkable.

The same with Dubravka. After playing your entire career in the minor leagues of Slovakia, Denmark and the Czech Republic, to make your debut against Manchester United only a week and a half after joining, then keep a clean sheet and be man of the match…unbelievable.

With a £4m buying option agreed between the clubs and the player himself appearing to be very happy with his new club, the permanent move for Martin Dubravka looks assured this summer.

However, Rafa Benitez admits that Kenedy is a different situation.

No buying clause was included for the Brazilian and so it is one of those typical situations for Chelsea and their cynical strategy of buying young players with little/no intention of playing most of them, loaning them out for a number of seasons to have somebody else pay their wages and improve them as players, sitting back and often seeing the value of the ‘asset’ rise and rise.

I’m guessing there would have been minimal interest from other Premier League clubs [and beyond], if Chelsea had announced Kenedy was up for sale in January, certainly I couldn’t imagine any value on him over £10m, considering he arrived for around £7m in 2015 and has hardly played any football since.

However, only three months on and nine appearances for Newcastle United, a price tag of around £20m is surely a minimum, with the way the transfer market has gone.

Rafa Benitez says that you can’t not play a loan player just because they are doing well and you are afraid it will attract competitors, if you want to try and keep somebody like Kenedy.

The Newcastle boss says ‘you have to play him’ and of course playing every week and doing well, are the exact reasons why the Brazilian has said he is ‘so happy’ at St James Park and would be interested in staying long-term.

Rafa concedes though that it could be a hard deal to pull off in terms of buying Kenedy at this stage, both because of possible competitors, but mainly the situation with Chelsea.

It is very likely they may want to sit on the player longer to see if the value further increases, whilst with a change of manager in the summer very likely, that adds further complications as a new man may fancy keeping the player and giving him the opportunity.

The United Manager openly admits that another loan may be Newcastle’s best chance of seeing Kenedy at St James Park next season but you would imagine if a loan move is how Chelsea see things going, then surely they would then also need to be committing to a new more lucrative contract for the 22 year old.

With three years of his initial contract up this summer, Kenedy will very likely have only two years remaining, so no way would Chelsea want a position where the 22 year old was allowed to go out on loan next season and potentially excelling, then coming back to Stamford Bridge with only a year left on his deal.

For Newcastle fans, this is surely a deal that would signal just how ambitious Mike Ashley is going to allow Rafa to be. If the club don’t at least try and buy the winger for an amount higher than the current 13 year old £16m Michael Owen club record fee, then it will be massive worries all around Tyneside as to where NUFC are heading.

Rafa Benitez on trying to keep Kenedy:

“I have seen the interview and what he said [where Kenedy said he’s interested in staying at Newcastle].

“I know his agent [as well].

“He is doing well and I am happy because we have been winning and he’s been scoring goals, that’s fantastic for us and really good news for him.

“The situation is that Chelsea need to know where they will finish, and we need to know where we will finish, there is plenty of time to talk.

“But if you are asking me [whether a loan is best chance of Newcastle keeping Kenedy]…I would say yes.

“It wasn’t easy to bring him here and it won’t be easy to bring him here again.

“You can’t change that [alleged interest from likes of PSG and Bayern Munich], if you want to win games and he is doing well, you have to play him.

“If he is doing even better than fine, fair enough it will be more difficult for us [to compete with other clubs for his signature] for sure, but he is so happy [at Newcastle] he will be keen to stay.”

  • Mrkgw

    When is Mike Ashley leaving Newcastle?

    • Peaky

      He’s not….and won’t be for the foreseeable…..

      • Jezza

        Agreed. He’s making far too much money from our club to ever sell up and move on.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          He doesn’t make any money at the moment, as it stands, he can only make money when he sells up.

          Sure, he could take money but so far he hasn’t.

          In fact, no owner has put more of his own personal wealth into Nufc than Mike Ashley. ThisTis a truth that Jezza struggles with.

          • thewildchimp

            He’s loaned that money to the club. If he sells it, he gets it back. If he sells it 10 years later, he still gets the money back. The man is a professional shark, he knows what he’s doing and he’s doing only what benefits him. Otherwise he would pay for the advertisement. And many other stuff as well, but let’s end it at that.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            He only gets his money back if he sells, that’s the point and even then, only if someone pays close to the asking if price.

            The advertising is the orth far less than the interest he has forgone.

          • thewildchimp

            Well, if he doesn’t sell – all of the assets are still his. He invests into his business, nothing strange about that. If he sells, though, his investment that made HIM the money will have to be eventually paid by someone else. It’s as slimy as it can get.

            To sum it up, put yourself into the position of a potential buyer. The previous owner invests some money through a loan, which raises the value of the company, then he demands that you pay the full new value of the said firm AND his loan. It’s a ridiculous demand, no matter how you look at it.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Eh? If he doesn’t sell, the money is tied up in assets that may or may not be worth more than he put in?

            Try telling Ells Short that he should be grateful his money is tied up in football assets, he can’t give his club away.

            Not sure why you consider the idea of the club giving a return on investment as “slimy”. Surely it’s good thing that there is some sort of return?

          • thewildchimp

            Yet, if he doesn’t invest at all – his enterprise will collapse. And he would lose much, much more. It’s “slimy” because he invests so he can reap the immediate benefits, then demands someone else pays for it.
            Like when you would try to sell a flat and said: “Listen, I have been paying the phone and the electric bills all this time so you wouldn’t lose the sockets. Cough up the cash. Oh, and also the bills for the parking spot.”

            The honest way of doing business would be: “Listen, the club is worth £400m, but it’s £80m in debt. It’s yours for £320m and you repay that debt by the books.” Not 400+80=480 but 400-80+80=400. No person of integrity would accept that, unless he has a clear vision of how to grow the club much beyond that and just wants to get it over with.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Yes, if he doesn’t invest at all, the money that is tied up becomes at risk but I don’t think it’s a case of not investing. We had a net spend of €30 odd million last summer.

            I don;t see this as “slimy” people invest so they can reap the benefits, 11 years is a fair old time to wait for a reward.

            You say the honest way of doing business would be: “Listen, the club is worth £400m, but it’s £80m in debt. It’s yours for £320m and you repay that debt by the books.” Whilst the figures are not right, that is exactly what he’s asking;

            He paid £133m for the club and has had to put another £164m in as loans. So he’s out for £275m, Staveley was taking a gamble at bidding £250m in December but asking Ashley to take a haircut. Ashley, IMHO pretty much decided that was a lose – lose deal so gambled on waiting.

            So, let’s say he accepts £350m not, that gives him his £164m back and a £186m for the shareholding – a £53m return on tying up to £275m over 11 years. Not exactly the deal of the century but better than say Ellis Short.

            £350m for a debt-free club that comes with a ready to use, fit for purpose stadium, playing assets that are premier league standard securing an annual income of anything between £25-£40m a year is pretty good. If I went into the bank tomorrow to put £350 in, I’d not get £25-40 a year interest.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose


  • Leazes.

    There are a few morons who post articles trying to say that Benitez has a building programme. Unfortunately the evidence of loan signings and noises made by Ashley says otherwise!

    It has become a common daily Mantra by these very stupid people who are set in their ‘faith’ and belief systems, and its almost religious in its ignorance and intolerance of rationality and evidence. These people to whom I refer are the Mag writers.

    Ashley has put into place an excuse not to invest, Benitez says he wants assurances…. now watch what happens! Its a game of timing, it will be strung out to the last moment again. If Benitez accepts this level of nonsense again when competitors are strengthening then he’s only here for the money and no sign of competing means no building programme.

    Mr Jensen has a lot to answer for with his choice of conservative ‘rally around the flag’ writers and is as guilty as Ryder in smothering questions and swaddling the club in a suffocating blanket of ‘love’!

    • Bradley Sparkes

      Fortunately Benitez appears to be wary of Ashley’s ways, hence why he’s demanding immediate talks and putting the pressure on early. Ashley may try to stall him, but Rafa has the benefit of time now and can threaten to leave us high and dry if he doesn’t play ball.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Ashley doesn`t do pressure, he does exactly what he wants to do

        • Leazes.

          We know he likes punk music and vomiting and sticking two fingers up to everyone….. he’s rotten to the core!

          • Kneebotherm8

            Johnny Rotten?……

      • Leazes.

        Expectations are going to be played down and we know that Ashley has a ceiling for spending on players, so It’ll be interesting to see where the club is positioned this time around in the financial league table. We have seen that United at fifteenth most valuable squad unsurprisingly struggled until April when safety was assured.

        Over to Rafa and the Rafalution then!

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      You really are as thick as pig 💩.

      • Leicester Mag

        Care to put forward a coherent argument why you believe this?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I’ve given up reasoning with the lying twit.

        • Jezza

          Don’t feed the troll, marra. Just block him.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    it`s a Mexican standoff between Rafa & the Pig
    i think Rafa is ill advised to air his feelings on transfers in the media as it only winds the Pig up,
    the bottom line is to Fatso Rafa`s an employee no matter what his standing is in the game

    • Peaky

      Very relevant last sentence there Moose..

  • TC Toon Army

    If Ashley was ever going to get behind a manger in the way people want him to, then the time is now. We’re in a great position to move forward as a club. If it’s not now. It will never be. If Rafa left, i think Sunderland would have something to smile about.

    • gallowgate26

      History would suggest otherwise sadly. When the club’s doing (relatively) well, he does nothing. When the club were struggling, he brought forward the Sissoko & Gouffran signings etc. etc. and spent money in panic.

  • Weyhhadaway

    I don’t totally disagree with the use of the loan market. Hell if we hadn’t used it in January we would be in a mess right now. It gives us a chance to assess players before shelling out millions. Take Atsu for example, one season on loan and we liked him so we bought him. Compare that to Gamez who we bought. He has been crocked most of the time, if we had loaned him we could have sent him back. But then we borrowed a crocked striker so where is the logic of this concept? I just confused myself.

    • Ram Kishore

      Gamez is free transfer..
      But u r right about how he turned out to be..You are right about Joselu..
      But don’t forget Joselu is playing the role of Murphy last season.. Mostly for backup

  • gallowgate26

    Well Chelsea played him as a LB/LWB (Hazard will always be no.1 LW) He arrived as a ‘left-sided player’ tag… Sod that, he is the left wing forward and first name on the team sheet for me and no way is he a LB!! Totally would be playing out of position there and wasted. No offence to left backs but howeh!
    (Actually think Chelsea are becoming a bit of a one man band r.e Hazard, after watching the semi today, Southgate, if not relieved of his duties by then, will need to keep an eye on Hazard in the summer, that’s for sure)

  • thewildchimp

    The club needs around 25-30m to sign Kenedy and Dubravka. Will Benitez get that amount of money? Most likely not. Even if we sign Kenedy, he will come with a sell-on clause on top of the hefty sum, so it really might not be wise to buy him. But a new loan deal also seems unlikely, because he has only two years remaining at Chelsea. It’s a really difficult position for negotiating.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      You’ve not read Rafa’s comments or this article. It’s in Chelsea’s hands and why would they sell him to us?

      • thewildchimp

        Because we could offer enough money. The same reason they’d sell him to anyone else. Like merchants they are, they will ask fore more then he’s worth. If someone bites, they sell to them, if nobody does, we are in the game. That is, if Ashley decides to pay.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          So how much is enough? Chelsea can give him a new contract, loan him out for a year, appreciate in value and save themselves the expense of buying a similar player.

          • thewildchimp

            Why would they wait? There is always a new talented kid waiting in line. And who’s to guarantee that Kenedy will sign a new deal next year? He can simply wait, pick up his wages, and leave on a free, if he want’s to play properly and not be treated as a cash-cow. His value is somewhere between 20 and 25 million pounds, not considering his age. The easiest thing for them is to cash in, invest 5m in a newcomer and repeat the process. Put the rest of the money into acquiring star players.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            There is no guarantee that Kenedy will sign s deal with Chelsea but with their wage structure vs ours, I can guess which contract is the more lucrative.

            Why would Chelsea wait? They have been burnt by letting players go too early and they become world beaters. Of course, we think they can’t keep all these players and rent them out, it just appears that they are happy to do so.

          • thewildchimp

            He’s a young Brazilian lad. He wants to make a name for himself, he said so, and he would like to play for us, something he has also said. Yes, he might get several thousands more per week, but he isn’t going to get game time.

            They can wait, sure. And then what? A new Brazilian or Spanish kid comes along and suddenly everyone is talking about him and not Kenedy. Kenedy continues playing on loans, sustains an injury and becomes a failed investment. Why risk?

            I’m not saying they will sell him this summer. I’m merely stating that they will try; they won’t attempt to hold onto him, unless they intend to play him.