Monday has seen Ki Sung-yueng join in with the rest of the squad at Newcastle United’s training ground.
Interesting to see the 29 year old coming back for pre-season earlier than planned.
When signing for Newcastle three weeks ago, the South Korean international said he was going to have a month’s holiday (see below).
The midfielder admitting that two weeks pre-season with his new club wouldn’t have him 100% for the Tottenham game – but he hoped to be able to as close as possible to full fitness.
Nothing official has been said as to why Ki Sung-yueng has arrived a week earlier than anticipated but with so few players arriving, little surprise that Rafa Benitez wants as many senior players as possible involved as much as possible.
Mikel Merino has already left and with Isaac Hayden also going public with the news he is desperate to also leave, due to personal reasons, Ki Sung-yueng is the only cover for Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame at the minute.
Rafa Benitez was even forced to delay 20 year old Sean Longstaff going out on loan as he worries about his squad options ahead of the new season.
Widespread media reports say Rafa needs to sell before he can buy anybody, a desperate position considering Newcastle are in credit so far in this transfer window.
Whilst it is difficult to argue that Newcastle are any stronger than the squad that ended last season, it is at least one positive that the players that deals have been done for (retaining Dubravka via a permanent deal and Kenedy on another loan, as well as Ki Sung-yueng on a free) have all previously shown themselves to be capable of playing at Premier League level.
A long way to go though before anybody can be convinced that Newcastle have a squad that is fully prepared for the demands of this upcoming Premier League season.
Ki Sung-Yueng speaking to the official club site – 2 July 2018:
“It is not a serious problem…it is not a tear, just a little strain.
“I got a knock from Mexico’s players at the end of the game.
“Then I couldn’t play (in the next match) because of the short period until the Germany game.
“Now I can train and there is not a problem.
“I need some rest now to recover from the national team because I also had one month preparation (for the World Cup) after the season.
“When I come back from my holidays I have to be ready 100% mentally and physically.
“I will do some work in Korea while on holiday.
“I have two weeks to prepare for the first game (once I am back) and maybe I can’t be 100%…but I should be almost 100%.
“I’m thankful to this club for giving me the opportunity to play for such a great club – I am really looking forward to it.
“There was no hesitation once I had a first offer from the club, it was a very quick decision.
“I know that this club has big ambitions.”