North-East report claims Benitez has put popular Newcastle defender up for sale

According to the Northern Echo this morning, Rafa Benitez has put popular Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba up for sale this summer, with the Spaniard looking to trim his squad over the coming weeks.

Mbemba has started both pre-season friendlies against Hearts and Preston, being deployed at right-back in the first half and at centre-back alongside new-boy Florian Lejeune in both second halves.

Despite a promising end to the season – where he scored his first ever United goal against Barnsley on the final day – Benitez had predominately shown a real lack of faith in the Congolese centre-back last term.

Benitez is understood to be frustrated by his poor English and inability to follow instructions. His pace and athleticism lends itself to him becoming a capable Premier League defender, but Benitez clearly has real reservations.

With Florian Lejeune on-board and Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles two additional centre-back options next season, Mbemba has stiff competition.

Grant Hanley is almost certain to leave this summer, and it sounds like Mbemba may just join him out the exit door if the right offer comes in.

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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.

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