Ex-Sunderland star says these two Benitez mistakes will get NUFC relegated – Do you agree?

Ex-Sunderland wide man Kieran Richardson believes Newcastle have not got the goals to stay up – feeling that Benitez’s decision to let both Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle go will be a disastrous one.

Whilst Gayle’s eight goals have come in the Championship, both he and Mitrovic have scored a combined 13 goals so far this season – with the Serbian scoring five so far for Fulham (just one less than we’ve scored as a team all season).

Despite his fitness issues early on, it’s been confirmed that Rondon WAS one of Rafa’s top summer targets, but I would argue that he would’ve been expected to spend the £23m received for Mitrovic – yet he was given Muto for £9.5m instead.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Richardson insisted that it was a big mistake letting both Gayle and Mitrovic go, however, feeling as though we let go exactly what we needed:

“I think Newcastle have not got the goals, they let Mitrovic go and Gayle go so that’s a lot of goals leaving your team,” 

“For me personally I don’t think they have the goals in that team to stay up.”

This is all easy for him to say in hindsight now Gayle and Mitrovic are scoring goals. What he and most people forget is that these two were NOT doing the business for us.



Gayle got SIX goals in all comps last season and looked lost in the lone striker role, while Mitrovic scored just four times the last time Rafa gave him a chance to prove himself in our promotion season.

Rondon’s fitness problems and the time it’s taken for Muto to adapt have been far from ideal – leaving us with Joselu in the first few games – but things could’ve been very different if we’d signed Rondon earlier in the summer and allowed him to have a full pre-season with us.

Rondon fits our system better than Gayle and it appeared as though the only way to get him was to do a swap deal with West Brom. The issue was Ashley’s inability to replace Mitrovic with a proven striker.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

2 thoughts on “Ex-Sunderland star says these two Benitez mistakes will get NUFC relegated – Do you agree?

  1. The idea that Mitro never did it for united is just wrong, if anyone actually looked into the numbers properly you would see he always provided something. Rather than looking at goals to games look at time given and it gives a clearer indication.
    First season in prem (15/16): his total time on the field equates to 23, 90 minute games – scored 9 assisted 4.
    16/17: time equates to 12, 90 minute games – 4 goals 6 assists in the championship. (a lot of these appearances were 10 minutes at the end of a game)
    17/18: time equates to <2 games in prem – 1 goal. Time equates to 15, 90 minute games in championship – 12 goals 1 assist.
    18/19 he has played the full 90 minutes in 10 games in the prem and has 5 goals 1 assist.

    If you give him the time on the field he will provide. This isn't me making something out of nothing it's looking at the numbers and facts. You surely can't argue when someone is brought on with 10-15 minutes left in a game we are losing its pretty hard to make a positive impact, which unfortunately is all mitro was really afforded a lot of the time.

    I don't blame Rafa for selling him, he didn't fit in with his system and I understand that but I will never understand people saying he was never any good.

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  2. There is no doubt that Mitrovic is a good striker, if played in the right system. Unfortunately, that system didn’t fit the one Rafa uses and although he started quite brightly for Fulham his goals have dried up of late.

    We all know Gayle thrives in the Championship, but is suspect at the higher level. His record at Crystal Palace and then with us shows that to be the case. He is scoring goals again with his loan spell at WBA, but how many would he have contributed if he hadn’t been loaned out?

    As for Rondon, I think the jury is still out. He is not prolific and never has been, but he is the target man that suits Rafa’s system. We need someone who can feed of his workrate and can find the net consistently. Sadly there are few Shearer’s or Henry’s around these days…..especially at the affordable levels Ashley sets for transfers.

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