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Rafa Benitez names which of 16 Newcastle players who left in summer 2016 were a big miss

4 weeks ago
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Back in summer 2016, fans saw one of the biggest changeovers of Newcastle  players in the club’s history.

Rafa Benitez making wholesale changes, many of them through choice, though others no so.

By my count, at least 16 senior players went out of the door, a huge job for the Newcastle boss to do that and have to bring in so many new players to from a Championship winning squad.

That he accomplished that AND made a £40m profit on deals in and out, is testament to the experience and expertise of Rafa Benitez.

These are the 16 senior players who in summer 2016 were sold, not offered a new contract, or went out on loan before being sold/released:

Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Seydou Doumbia, Steven Taylor, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabricio Coloccini, Papiss Cisse, Florian Thuavin, Remy Cabella, Andros Townsend, Kevin Mbabu, Moussa Sissoko, Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Emmanuel Riviere and Siem de Jong.

Rafa Benitez has now namechecked four of those players who were a big loss to the club.

Rafa Benitez speaking to the Chronicle:

“We lost some very, very important players when we were relegated.

“You see that they are now playing in the Premier League:[Andros] Townsend, [Moussa] Sissoko, [Daryl] Janmaat and [Gini] Wijnaldum.

“They are good players.

“We lost something but, little by little, we were building something new.

“What do we have now?

“We have a team that we know, and everybody knows, every player cares, everybody is focused, all of these things.

“So it is different.”

Of the four former Newcastle players that Rafa names, I don’t think there is any doubt that Gini Wijnaldum would improve the current NUFC team. Played generally in a more defensive role at Liverpool he might not get as many goals as he did previously but he has been excellent for the scousers.

Andros Townsend is another who I think would be generally accepted as a player who would get in this current Newcastle team. His bare statistics of nine Premier League goals and 14 assists in these three seasons since leaving Tyneside aren’t stand out but he does always carry a threat and is a good player, plus he’s somebody who runs at the opposition.

Moussa Sissoko…well he has turned it around at Tottenham, eventually. Still has only one Premier League goal and five assists but in their team his all round running is maybe enough, due to so many other players who will score and create goals in that team.

Daryl Janmaat possibly the most contentious of the four.

Has started exactly half [53 of 106] of the Premier League matches for Watford since forcing a move. Ironically, now Rafa is playing with wing-backs it would definitely suit Janmaat, as like all of our regular right-backs since Danny Simpson he is better going forward than defending.

Of the other 12 senior Newcastle players who left in summer 2016, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether any of them are missed.

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