We read all kinds of nonsense in transfer windows but this one takes the biscuit.
With a lot of transfer speculation, whilst you know most of it is complete invention, at least it makes some kind of sense.
However, this one on Newcastle United winger Yasin Ben El-Mhanni is just plain embarrassing.
Actually he is now ‘former’ NUFC winger, as his contract came to an end on the last day of June.
Ever since he was named a couple of months ago as one of those Newcastle players who wouldn’t be given a new contract, he has been increasingly linked with other clubs.
Which is fair enough, except the level of those clubs is getting ever more ridiculous.
Good luck to the 22 year old, and indeed all of those looking for new clubs, but he isn’t very good.
In two years at Newcastle, Yasin Ben El-Mhanni never once got on any league bench, even in the Championship.
He only ever played twice and that was when Rafa played a reserve side in the FA Cup against both Birmingham and Oxford in January 2017. He showed nothing at all in those two matches.
I get to a fair few Under 23 matches as well and he doesn’t even look good in those games, I just checked and he was more often on the bench for the reserves than he was a starter last season!
Despite this, reports today claim that both Lazio (fifth in Serie A last season) and Benfica (second last season in Portugal and in Champions League group stage this coming season) are now ‘chasing his signature’ for next season.
This isn’t a character assassination of the young player but more the ridiculous invention on this occasion by the media.
Even before Benfica and Lazio’s ‘interest’, it had been claimed in various media that Sporting Lisbon, Watford, Besiktas, Wolves, Forest and Leeds are all ‘competing’ to sign him.
He had only previously been on the books of non-league clubs Lewes and Farnborough before Rafa gave him a chance, as the manager brought in a lot of players at academy/under 23 level to try and improve the levels under the first team.
What lies behind the media stories is seemingly wanting to believe Newcastle United are releasing a promising player, solely because of him initiating the disciplinary complaints against Peter Beardsley.
So this them brings reports of these stellar clubs desperately fighting over the ‘speedy and skilful winger’, as though they are competing to sign an absolute bargain due to that disciplinary situation.
It all reminds me a bit of how when we had Pardew as manager and Carr in charge of transfers, it would be claimed in the French media repeatedly that Newcastle were after any number of young players at lowly French clubs. No doubt football fans in France would have been reading the reports and laughing, as if an English Premier League were interested in somebody who probably won’t even make it in the lower French leagues.
As I say above, good luck to Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, but I think he will be back in non-league football.
Even amongst the other young players released by Newcastle United this summer, there are a lot of better quality ones than El-Mhanni looking for a new club.