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Rafa Benitez Newcastle United signings rated

8 months ago
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There were eventually seven Newcastle United signings this summer.

Rafa Benitez allowed to pay fees for four players, as well as a free transfer and two loan players.

Obviously Mike Ashley has paved the way for potential disaster by not backing his manager.

The NUFC owner insisting on a £20m+ profit in the summer transfer market, with almost every other one of Newcastle’s competitors having a net spend  at least £50m higher than Rafa was allowed.

The window has closed now though and Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans just have to get on with it, at least until the January window nears and that debate begins.

So what about those seven Newcastle United signings, are they suggesting they can outperform their budget price tags so far?

Purely on what they have shown in matches this season, here are my ratings (out of 10) and comments on the, hopefully, magnificent seven:

Martin Dubravka  – 8

It has been seamless. Last season’s loan keeper simply continuing on from last season’s excellent form.

You have to wonder how he reached the age of 29 only playing in low standard leagues (Slovakia, Denmark and Czech Republic). Although maybe that is the difference with goalkeepers compared to say strikers, forwards scoring lots of goals – even in lower leagues, will always eventually be noticed. For goalkeepers, it is all about opportunity and getting recognised for tehr potential.

Kenedy – 3

Undeniably the biggest disappointment so far. Did ok in the Spurs game before shockers against Cardiff and Forest, picking up a little bit against Man City.

So much expected of a 22 year old inexperienced loan player due to the lack of overall investment in the team/squad. The positives are…we know from last season what he is capable of and also, the fact he had only 67 minutes in pre-season friendlies and spent a lot of time with his partner and new born baby girl, suggest he wasn’t in the best of shapes for the new season but with so little quality elsewhere, Rafa having no choice but to play him. Will improve but possibly needs time.

Fabian Schar – 5

Hasn’t looked great. With defenders it is all about not making mistakes as they are often punished.

Was poor at Forest and played a part in conceding one if not two of the three goals, whilst against Chelsea he got wrong side of his man in the box, a cardinal sin, and ended up conceding a penalty. On balance Newcastle fans would say the penalty shouldn’t be given because Schar then got part of the ball when tackling from behind but the defender still gave the referee the opportunity and we would have been convinced it was a penalty if at the other end. Doesn’t look anything more than cover.

Ki Sung-yueng – 5

Speaking of which…

Pretty much what I thought when we signed him, a 29 year old free transfer who is a tidy player and good cover.

If you judge him purely as a squad player then he has done ok up to a point so far but has never really looked like he is going to influence a game. Desperately need Shelvey back because the team are getting nothing going forward from the middle of the pitch.

Salomon Rondon – 7

A promising cameo against Spurs when he hit the bar and then tough matches against Chelsea and Man City when he started.

Difficult to judge because he has seen so little of the ball and had next to no service/support BUT we have very much liked what we have seen so far.

A great assist for Yedlin at Man City and a very good finish at Forest. Hopefully against Arsenal, Rondon will get the chance to show us a lot more if getting that service and support, though certainly against teams outside the top six I think we have confidence that the striker is going to do well and score goals.

Federico Fernandez – 7

Has been very good in difficult games.

A former Argentine international and Premier League constant for Swansea, he looks a PL first team player. When Florian Lejeune returns from injury, there will be some real competition when you add in Lascelles as well.

Newcastle’s best defender against both Chelsea and Man City, plus one of the few to do ok against Forest, not at fault for the first goal and had been subbed by the time the other two went in.

Yoshinori Muto – 4

A bit like the Jacob Murphy transfer a year earlier. With so little money spent overall, Muto has by default ended up as our ‘big’ summer signing at £9.5m, meaning that little bit more expectation.

Doesn’t look to have adapted fully to the demands of the Premier League so far and Rafa has indeed indicated as much. Was a good performer in the Bundesliga at a lower ranked team so no reason why he can’t do it in the Premier League. No pre-season with Newcastle and time off after a World Cup won’t have helped either. Nothing to show so far apart from that penalty he won at Cardiff but I think given time he will do ok.
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