It has been revealed today that Rafa Benitez attempted to sign French international Maxime Gonalons in the summer, with the midfielders agent confirming his client turned down Newcastle in favour of a move to Roma.
The Frenchman was linked with a move to Tyneside over the summer whilst at Lyon, however secured a £4.5m move to Italian giants Roma instead, being one of several players Benitez appeared to have ‘missed out’ on.
The agent of the ex-Lyon captain Frederic Guerra has been speaking on the radio in France this week, confirming that Benitez has been a long term admirer of the holding midfielder and made attempts to bring him to Newcastle over the summer:
“Maxime was very close to Napoli, three to four years ago,”
“Benitez wanted him a lot, and wanted him this summer at Newcastle. We have preferred the Italian championship because it is very tactical football, and Maxime works on his game day after day.”
Given the vast number of transfer links over the summer, our alleged ‘efforts’ to sign Gonalons over the summer were probably taken with a pinch of salt at the time, however it appears he was in fact a target of Rafa’s and a player he’s admired for a long time.
£4.5M for a player of his calibre seemed like a steel for Roma, however I won’t be losing any sleep that we missed out on him when you consider Mikel Merino was the player we got instead!