Benitez has been today discussing the fitness of long-term absentee Paul Dummett, confirming that he will look to bring in a left-back to ‘compete’ with him in January.
Dummett has been Rafa’s first choice left-back since he took over at the club last year, but hobbled off on the opening day of the season against Spurs with a hamstring problem – an injury has seen him sidelined ever since.
Benitez efforts to sign a left-back on deadline day were made quite clear, however failed attempts to sign Matty Targett and Kenedy saw him left short, meaning we’ve seen the likes of Chancel Mbemba, Jesus Gamez and Javier Manquillo fill in over our opening seven games.
It doesn’t appear to have cost us, with the trio filling in capably when called upon thus far, however a natural left-back would be preferable to give us balance Benitez so often craves.
The gaffer has been speaking to BBC Newcastle today, where he’s discussed Dummett’s injury and confirmed his wish to sign a new left-back in January:
“We knew it could be long, and still we have to wait,”
“He will be back with us in time, we already working hard to try and reduce the time, but it is clear that we have to respect that timeframe.
“If we can bring someone to compete with him [in January], it will be fine but at the moment I’m happy with the job the others are doing.”
According to The Chronicle, Dummett is expected to return by late November or early December, meaning our trip to Manchester United on the 18th of November looks like his earliest possible return.
A sensible suggestion from Rafa and hopefully a wish that is granted on this occasion, with our only other natural left-back being Massaido Haidara – a player nowhere to be seen so far this season and one who’s unlikely to play for us again.