I commented on an article last week by the Chronicle, which stated that doubts have already emerged around Ki Sung-yueng – with the South Korean frozen from the first team picture over the last six weeks due to concerns over his ‘lack of mobility’.
This is a worrying sign given he was only signed by Benitez just a few months ago, but unfortunately, this is part of a trend for a few of the Spaniard’s signings.
He’s forced to search in the bargain basement and is limited by no investment from above, so he has had his hands tied at times, but this is not the first time early doubts have emerged around one of his new buys – e.g. Gamez, Lazaar and Sels.
Ki has not played for over a month and the fact he has dropped below Hayden in the pecking order – an out of form player who doesn’t want to be here – probably says it all.
There are several other players Rafa has signed who have gone the same way.
Sels was signed to become our new no.1 but was quickly dropped and never seen again, then there’s Gamez – a player Rafa must’ve known well and signed from Spain. He was rarely used and often left out of our match day squads. And then Lazaar, a player Benitez brought in at left-back, yet someone he doesn’t even allow to train with the first-team after 10 appearances in two years.
Rafa has got so many right while he’s been at NUFC, with Ritchie, Kenedy, Gayle, Dubravka, Yedlin all serving us well so far despite being signed on a tight budget, however he’s got a few wrong – and knowing Ashley (a man who doesn’t understand football), he will expect every signing to deliver.
It could be another reason for the disconnect we have between owner and manager- with Rafa’s references letting him down and a lack of cash tying his hands behind his back in the transfer market.
Regardless, it is frustrating seeing new signings fall by the way side – whoever is to blame. We needed strengthening in the summer and we simply haven’t done it nearly enough.
We are a worse side this time round after a net profit and other teams around us investing heavily and progressing. Rafa can’t get every signing right, but I’d like to bet that he wouldn’t have had this problem if he’d been able to sign his number one targets.