The Daily Express are at it again today, claiming that Jonjo Shelvey is nearing a move to West Ham.
Now, I don’t actually buy this story. I am sceptical that Rafa would sell to a rival and feel sure that he’d only sell if a replacement had already arrived, however I do actually think he just might be sold before the window slams shut next week. Here’s why.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d only sell him if an adequate replacement arrived beforehand (and one that could settle in quickly given the circumstances), but, a bit like Mitrovic, I don’t quite see how it’s going to work for Shelvey at Newcastle while Rafa’s here.
You could argue that he lacks a good defensive midfielder next to him, allowing him to do damage further up the pitch, however it’s fair to say that Shelvey has not been performing as we’d expect this season. He’s tended to let us down more than he’s taken games by the scruff of the neck like we know he can.
He’s a huge talent but also a huge liability. It may seem mad to sell one of our biggest talents, but I don’t think he works in a Benitez team that currently sees so little of the ball. He’s not disciplined out of possession & has more red cards than goals/assists this season. Failing to shake Rafa’s hand when he went off the pitch against Swansea didn’t help his cause either..
If we were looking for a passer then he’d be tough to replace and selling may seem silly – although some of his long balls can be so wasteful when he’s out of touch. 1/10 are absolute pearlers which lead to goals or big chances, but quite a few go astray. In a possession based team with more pace/movement ahead of him he’d probably thrive, but we need players for now in this relegation battle and Shelvey’s not performing.
He’s played in front of the defence, in a side that lacks pace or movement, not forgetting we often play on the counter and often have 40% possession in games. At his best (at Swansea), he was played in a different role and in a team that suited him so much more. I was delighted to have signed him when we did, and I still believe he’s a big talent, but we’re not currently getting the best out of him and I don’t know how that changes in this system / playing this style of football? He spends more time off the ball having to do defensive work than on it in good areas to make killer pass.
He’s a good player and without doubt one of our biggest talents, but perhaps this season has shown that he’s not suited to Rafa’s system right now?
I don’t think he’ll go to West Ham (unless a very good part exchange is offered), but do honestly think Benitez might cash in on him if a replacement was found who he felt would improve us.
In reality, I think we’ll be too immersed in talks to sign a striker to consider searching for a potential Shelvey replacement, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
A big talking point folks – let us know where you stand on all of this!