According to the Northern Echo this morning, Newcastle now look set to miss out on a deal for Kenedy despite agreeing a deal with Chelsea, with Antonio Conte now ‘inclined’ to keep the 21-year-old at Stamford Bridge for the second half of the season.
The report states that the Brazilian is one of Benitez’s ‘leading January targets’, so this could come as another real blow for the Spaniard, however I would question how a left wing-back would be so high on his priority list. Nevertheless, missing out on another target does spell more bad news in what’s turning out to be a barren month in the transfer window for NUFC.
Here’s what the Echo had to say on the potential collapse of that deal this morning:
“He (Benitez) thought a deal was close at the start of last week, but Conte refused to release Kenedy ahead of Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Swansea.
The Chelsea boss’ position has not softened over the weekend, indeed if anything, sources in London claim he is now even more reluctant to release the 21-year-old for the second half of the season.”
This deal always appeared to be dependant on Chelsea signing a replacement to provide cover at left-back, and despite them looking close to signing Porto’s Alex Telles last week, it seems Conte is now unsure if that replacement will arrive – hence his reluctance to let Kenedy go.
The Echo claim that Benitez will continue to hold discussions with Conte over a potential deal, however they state that his hopes of signing Kenedy have “receded significantly in the last seven days”.
Things really do need to get moving in the market now. Benitez will be one frustrated man.