Vurnon Anita & Yoan Gouffran: two big decisions for Rafa Benitez in the coming week

Our summer re-building will quickly start to take shape and and a key decision any manager has is always the future of any out of contract players. Newcastle have 5/6 but the main two are the futures of Gouffran and Anita. Both have been with the club a number of years and have racked up the appearances during their stay. How successful have they been and is their time up?

Vurnon Anita

High expectations were placed on Anita when he first signed shortly after we finished 5th under Alan Pardew. He was signed in the hope of being the final piece of our midfield jigsaw and a player who could dictate the tempo of a game with his passing and a fine partner for Cabaye and Tiote.

It hasn’t quite turned out like that in reality. Since signing Newcastle have struggled, either flirting with relegation or plying their trade in the Championship. That doesn’t mask some pretty ineffective displays in the middle of the park. He has a great attitude and a good attitude but gets lost with the physicality of midfield in England, often bullied by taller and stronger players.

However, just as his future was bleak, his versatility has given him more opportunites in the last few seasons, now mainly used as a right back. He certainly looks more comfortable there despite openly admitting he isn’t keen on playing full back longer term. His good stamina and neat passing make him a solid option and he often kept Yedlin our the side this year.

He is one of the higher earners though and you have to feel he hasn’t really lived up to what we wanted from his signing initially. A fresh start is perhaps best for all parties.

Yoan Gouffran

Unlike Anita, Gouffran was not as well known and signed for Newcastle under the radar as we signed the likes of Moussa Sissoko in the same window. A cut price fee of around £1.5m also meant it was a low risk transfer for Newcastle.

Interestingly, like Anita, Gouffran has enjoyed relative success in a different position for which he was signed. He was regarded as a good striker from Bordeaux when signed but has spent the vast majority of his time here playing left midfield. He has scored some key goals for us and again his attitude cannot be questioned. His excellent strike at Derby this season personified his strengths when on form.

I would argue his time on Tyneside has been a success when you consider his small fee. He is though now 31 and again like Anita, feel that Rafa will want fresh faces this summer. After all if Rafa was really keen to keep them they would have been offered new contracts by now.

If they both do leave it will free up valuable space on the wage bill but both can leave the club with their heads held high.

What do you think?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

74 thoughts on “Vurnon Anita & Yoan Gouffran: two big decisions for Rafa Benitez in the coming week

  1. Cheers Simon. Like you identified, both grafters and unassuming characters – a positive trait lacking in many modern footballers. Also an important facet to a successful squad.

    On ability alone, I would say both are lacking at PL level. Gouffran definitely lacks the cutting edge to make an impact in the PL for his position and age. So for me, he goes.

    Anita I feel struggles with the more skillful wingers but is tidy in possession. He lacks the speed and final product to be used as a wing back and this is his nail in the coffin me. If he were strong at one or the other then great, but he is weak defensively against good wingers and weak going forward. So he goes too.

    Both did a good job in Championship but the PL is a different kettle of fish and we need to evolve the squad.

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  2. Maybe you could make a case for Anita staying as a squad filler with experience and an example of professionalism to the younger players coming through… Depends what comes in I guess.

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  3. Surprised about Anita. How much will it cost to get a utility player like him? Gouffran on the other hand isn’t good enough for the PL so no surprise there.

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  4. Yeah, I’m surprised about Anita too. He’s been very good at RB and Rafa clearly trusts him but money talks and Rafa will be ruthless in assembling his squad. There’s 3 Chelsea player I’d like on loan (Zouma and Loftus Cheek) and I would be disappointed if it was only Abrahams that came.

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  5. What chance of Huddersfield or Reading got of staying up? Do they have a single player between them that a PL club would want?

    Now the FA Cup is played on a Saturday again when there are no league games will that help make it the spectacle it once was? I remember when I was a kid there would be 5 hour build ups and clubs would have terrible songs sung by Ossie Ardilles. I wouldn’t have missed it back then. It is also a London derby but it does seem to have become a bit of an afterthought recently.

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  6. shamrock:
    Quiet here. Anyone would think the season had finished…

    Sham: it is probably the subject of the article as well. I don’t think many people are bothered either way about those 2. The fact we let Anita run down his contract probably means he is asking more than he is worth.

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  7. I’m here people, even moving house and without internet connection for a while. Personally I’d also like Anita to stay. I don’t think we will get Abrahams, but really hoping we pull off a deal for Michy Batshuayi, but cannot see it happening realistically.

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  8. I agree with Sham. It’s only fair that we acknowledged they are both grafters & have been good servants to the club.

    I prefer Anita & think there is still round in our PL squad for him. But at £1.5m, we got our monies worth.

    Anita is a very decent right back, it’ll be interesting to see who replaces him – IF he’s defo going.

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  9. Anita should stay. very versatile and can fill a few positions. Best and strongest position is RB. Is Yedlin better? with good coaching i think he will be but the two could do a job if the other is injured etc… Unless Rafa has identified someone decent and Yedlin will be the sub?

    I’m a little surprised we signed Atsu. He had a decent end to our campaign but I thought we would of signed someone better for our return to the Prem

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  10. Gashley:
    Anita should stay. very versatile and can fill a few positions. Best and strongest position is RB.Is Yedlin better? with good coaching i think he will be but the two could do a job if the other is injured etc… Unless Rafa has identified someone decent and Yedlin will be the sub?

    I’m a little surprised we signed Atsu. He had a decent end to our campaign but I thought we would of signed someone better for our return to the Prem

    we must have done away with medicals,he needs a opp on his knee already ffs

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  11. Sharpy – Anita was £6m.

    I think that now more than ever Newcastle is a hard sell to new players. Players will ask:
    How much? We can pass that test most times.
    Manager? Again we pass.
    Who will I play with? Most young players will never have heard of any of our present team!
    Location? Long way from anywhere.
    Weather? Rubbish mostly.
    Recent PL record? Rubbish.

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  12. georgio:
    Sharpy – Anita was £6m.

    I think that now more than ever Newcastle is a hard sell to new players. Players will ask:
    How much? We can pass that test most times.
    Manager? Again we pass.
    Who will I play with? Most young players will never have heard of any of our present team!
    Location? Long way from anywhere.
    Weather? Rubbish mostly.
    Recent PL record? Rubbish.

    Georgio – you are absolutely right mate. What’s missing from the end of that sentence is …. out of Gouffran (who only cost us £1.5m).
    That’s what happens when you posting whilst fettling a demanding 8yr old ?

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  13. georgio:
    Sharpy – Anita was £6m.

    I think that now more than ever Newcastle is a hard sell to new players. Players will ask:
    How much? We can pass that test most times.
    Manager? Again we pass.
    Who will I play with? Most young players will never have heard of any of our present team!
    Location? Long way from anywhere.
    Weather? Rubbish mostly.
    Recent PL record? Rubbish.

    With regards to the rest of your post. I look at the teams in the PL that finished 8th down over – and honestly I don’t see any of them being a greater attraction. I’m not saying we are a greater attraction then them either mind. I’m simply saying I don’t see us as a hard sell.

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  14. georgio:
    Sharpy – are you getting him the new strip mate?

    Hard sell?

    Georgio – I think it’s highly likely I will be getting us both one to be honest.

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  15. 8
    Southampton
    38 -7 46
    9
    Bournemouth
    38 -12 46
    10
    West Brom
    38 -8 45
    11
    West Ham
    38 -17 45
    12
    Leicester
    38 -15 44
    13
    Stoke
    38 -15 44
    14
    Crystal Palace
    38 -13 41
    15
    Swansea
    38 -25 41
    16
    Burnley
    38 -16 40
    17
    Watford
    38 -28 40

    With 7 up over being able to offer European football – I could understand any player picking those teams ahead of Newcastle.

    But I’ve listed 8-17 above, and I honestly don’t see which team is more appealing. Probably WH and Saints would be the stand out of the list, but are they ahead of us? – not in my opinion – equal.

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  16. Maybe you’re right Sharpy. 🙄 I guess I was thinking of really good players who most likely would be linked with the current top 7. We could definitely do with a couple of those. William Carvalho would be one I’d like.

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  17. georgio:
    Maybe you’re right Sharpy.?I guess I was thinking of really good players who most likely would be linked with the current top 7. We could definitely do with a couple of those. William Carvalho would be one I’d like.

    Georgio – I can understand that mate, but I think we need to prove we are stabilised & Ashleys backing of Rafa is genuine before we attract the kind of players you probably have in mind.
    There are still some decent players in those teams 8th down over – and I do think that there are some decent players in the better championship sides that could cut in at that level 8th down over.

    We’ve had a squad to get us out the championship. We’ll build a squad to stabilise us in the PL, then add those quality players over transfer windows to get us competing with Everton for those European slots.
    (That’s my hope anyway)

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  18. Just finished sandi g the exterior of the canoe i’m building. Feck me was that hard work. The nerves in my hands are still jangling!

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  19. Blog always goes quiet when the season finishes mate. At least until a signing looks close..

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  20. Anyone watching the FA cup tonight? I just finally got my internet and wifi re-connected so I can watch it tonight. Don’t really care who wins as long as it’s a good match. It’s a derby so hoping it will be canny.

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  21. shamrock:
    Just finished sandi g the exterior of the canoe i’m building. Feck me was that hard work. The nerves in my hands are still jangling!

    Sham – you can buy them you know mate ?

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  22. Dubai Toon:
    Anyone watching the FA cup tonight? I just finally got my internet and wifi re-connected so I can watch it tonight. Don’t really care who wins as long as it’s a good match. It’s a derby so hoping it will be canny.

    Dubai – absolutely mate. Still at 38 and regardless who’s playing, I love FA Cup final & build up to it.

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  23. Well those wanting the new toon top Ali Express are selling top quality ones £13.23p free shipping,fill your boots,better than fifty quid

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  24. Icedog:
    Well those wanting the new toon top Ali Express are selling top quality ones £13.23p free shipping,fill your boots,better than fifty quid

    What’s that Ice?

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  25. That was a cracking FA Cup final.

    Pleased for Wenger coz I think some of his criticism has been ridiculous.

    Ref had an excellent game as well, and pleased to see Moses walk for diving.

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  26. Sharpy17: What’s that Ice?

    It’s M Hewitt he’s pushing them on Facebook Nuffield supporters club,the firm is Ali Express that’s all I know mate

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  27. Icedog: It’s M Hewitt he’s pushing them on Facebook Nuffield supporters club,the firm is Ali Express that’s all I know mate

    NUFC not Nuffield,this bloody tablet

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  28. Just shows that French lge is well behind the PL,Gomis who was at Swansea was no great shakes yet is banging them in France think he has over 20 goals now

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  29. Icedog: NUFC not Nuffield,this bloody tablet

    ? The Nuffield supporters club ?. Might just have to have a look at that then mate, thank you ?.

    Yeah I saw that Gomis article too mate. What a load of ****e. You’re right though mate, the French league is Mickey Mouse.

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  30. Is there any life left in Wilfred Bony in the PL do we think?.

    I know he had a stinker of a loan season at Stoke, but his scoring record at Swansea & Man City (mins/goals) was very good.

    He’s 28, and his contract with City is up next season. He may be available at a decent price – but yet again, his wages could be a sticking point.

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  31. Have we not got three or four better goalkeepers than Arsenal? Not convinced by the Arsenal goalkeeper yesterday.

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  32. Sharpy: thanks for the Pards link. He is looking quite tanned.

    Big Fat Sam is going to work with Keys and Gray in Dubai. Play a bit of the golf and get a tan as well. Now that will be the biggest smug-fest ever. The 3 of them getting together. And John Cvoss of the Daily Mirror.

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  33. Oh God. Watched the FA Cup final and saw that Budweiser is the official beer of Wembley. Pisswater made with rice.

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  34. Eric Sykes:
    Oh God. Watched the FA Cup final and saw that Budweiser is the official beer of Wembley. Pisswater made with rice.

    The rice bit is important because it gives you a headache.

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  35. Watching the cup final and Arsenal are 1 nil up. Commentator says:

    If Chelsea score they may go on to win.

    On the other hand, if Arsenal score they will probably win.

    Duh….

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  36. Love those ridiculous comments.

    ‘If the ball had been 4 inches to the left, it would have been a goal’.
    Hmm….

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  37. shamrock:
    Love those ridiculous comments.

    ‘If the ball had been 4 inches to the left, it would have been a goal’.
    Hmm….

    Sham – sadly it’s true though mate. I mean 4 inches shorter and I’d be a lass ??

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  38. A lot of chat about Mangala again – there could well be something in that one.

    Also talk of Pepe Reina linking back up with Rafa – who i think took him to Napoli. I know he’s 34, but if we were to get rid Krul or Sels, I think he’d be another good player to get in – a leader & senior player for the young lads to look up to & learn from.

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  39. There’s still time for you yet Sharpy. Bruce Jenner didn’t realise he was a woman until he was past 60. Who wakes up, cashes their pension cheque and says: I am going to be a woman now, I have been one all along?

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  40. They are having a tribute to Totti in Roma AFTER THE GAME. He was a sub but came on and nobody kicked the ball out after 10 minutes (his number) and the game wasn’t stopped for a “guard of honour”.

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  41. So Rafa wasn’t to happy with the pitch at SJP so it’s now ripped up and are now laying a new pitch,it seemed OK to me,but Ime not Rafa,when I was playing I was lucky to see a blade of grass never mind a carpet of grass

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  42. Thats about 90 million foe them already – on 2 players! Shows how small fry we are these days trying to build a new team with maybe the same amount but probably less…

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  43. looks like we re trying to sign Hulls Grosicki i hink hes a top player i hope we get him 7 mil is nowt theses days

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  44. shamrock:
    Thats about 90 million foe them already – on 2 players! Shows how small fry we are these days trying to build a new team with maybe the same amount but probably less…

    Sham – it’s crazy mate!!. £45m for a keeper when they have Hart there already.
    This could send this window spiralling out of control with these fees already being paid out. I’m sure Jose is looking to spend around £50m on a lad from Inter as well.

    Sorry like but I’m not having these are the best managers in the world when they are getting hundreds of millions to spend every summer.

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  45. icedog:
    looks like we re trying to sign Hulls Grosicki i hink hes a top player i hope we get him 7 mil is nowt theses days

    Ice – you’ve got that name down to a tee now mate ?. If that’s the crack and he’s available for £7m, then he’s well worth the money. I’d far sooner see him come in for that, than take another risk on one of these young French prospects we’re being linked with again.

    You’re right mate, £7m in today’s market would probably buy you a fifth of a Man City player ?

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  46. Sharpy17: Ice – you’ve got that name down to a tee now mate .If that’s the crack and he’s available for £7m, then he’s well worth the money.I’d far sooner see him come in for that, than take another risk on one of these young French prospects we’re being linked with again.

    You’re right mate, £7m in today’s market would probably buy you a fifth of a Man City player

    Aye he has a release clause of 7 mil if they went down which of coarse they did,I would much prefer him than the likes of Townsend,it’s just he’s 29 now and that might be against him but at that price he’s cheap in today’s crazy market

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  47. Icedog: Aye he has a release clause of 7 mil if they went down which of coarse they did,I would much prefer him than the likes of Townsend,it’s just he’s 29 now and that might be against him but at that price he’s cheap in today’s crazy market

    Ice – yeah the age could be an issue. But the think with Rafa is that he seems to build a squad to do a job & isn’t bothered about changing it after a season or 2.
    He may see your boy as a good buy to stabilise us as a PL side then move him on in a season or 2 to bring someone else in.

    Hate to say it though, but I think he could go to Watford with that but out clause. Silva is looking likely to go there and I’m sure he signed this lad when we went to Hull.

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  48. Sharpy17: Ice – yeah the age could be an issue.But the think with Rafa is that he seems to build a squad to do a job & isn’t bothered about changing it after a season or 2.
    He may see your boy as a good buy to stabilise us as a PL side then move him on in a season or 2 to bring someone else in.

    Hate to say it though, but I think he could go to Watford with that but out clause.Silva is looking likely to go there and I’m sure he signed this lad when we went to Hull.

    your dead right of coarse he did sign him and has also took the Watford job on two yr contract

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  49. As far as wide players are concerned I’m not convinced this is the highest priority. We have Just signed Atsu, and we have Ritchie. On a previous thread it was suggested that Perez should be played wide. We also have Thauvin coming back after an excellent season out on loan. I can see us getting in one more wide player, but I would someone who is going to be significantly better than what we have.

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  50. PremandUp:
    As far as wide players are concerned I’m not convinced this is the highest priority. We have Just signed Atsu, and we have Ritchie. On a previous thread it was suggested that Perez should be played wide. We also have Thauvin coming back after an excellent season out on loan. I can see us getting in one more wide player, but I would someone who is going to be significantly better than what we have.

    Prem, I Thauvin is a done deal to Marseille mate… I doubt he is coming back, no matter how good he was. I think it was an automatic purchase on appearances.

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  51. just got back from hospital stay with the lad and catching the last bit of this play off final match. Anyone watching it and who’s been the better team today?

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  52. kimtoon:
    just got back from hospital stay with the lad and catching the last bit of this play off final match. Anyone watching it and who’s been the better team today?

    just in myself havent got a clue,will look now

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  53. god this blog, got to keep reopening link as it freezes and stops responding. too bloody tired for this crap like.

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  54. Hope we keep Mbemba. Good attitude and potential. Don’t want Ruben Samedo from Porto. Apparently the club don’t want him neither do the fans. Seems He may have a bad attitude.

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  55. Well done Huddersfield. Just goes to show what a difference a manager can make. When he took over last season they were in the relegation zone. He kept them up and now this with the same budget as Rotherham! Can’t see him being there long to be honest.

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  56. Well the interest I have in the play-offs is Huddersfield is a lot less distance to travel for away days,and IMO Mooy is not good enough for the toon in the PL there’s a lot better

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