Rafa Benitez has admitted that a deal to sign Martin Dubravka should be ‘easy’, but admits that a decision has not been made on anyones future – refusing to rule out a return for Islam Kenedy or Islam Slimani.
Whilst no permanent deals were secured, Dubravka, Kennedy and Slimani all arrived on loan in the closing stages of the January window – and majority of fans are already desperate to see two of them extend their stay at St James’ Park.
It looks almost certain that we will make Dubravka’s loan move permanent (with us having an option to buy for just £4m), however doubts remain over deals for Kennedy and Slimani – albeit for very different reasons.
Here’s what Rafa’s had to say when addressing the futures of all three NUFC loan men:
“It’s an easy decision, because it depends on us. We know he’s a good keeper and we know how important he is for our team.
“We have not made a final decision about Slimani’s future – but we haven’t made a final decision about anyone’s future.”
Rafa did not comment directly on a deal for Kennedy, but he did confirm that no decisions have been made as of yet – even though it seems almost certain that we’ll make an effort to sign the Brazilian permanently.
Interesting to see Benitez fail to rule out a move for Slimani, however this could just be the gaffer keeping his cards typically close to his chest. It seems so unlikely that he’ll come back given his injury record and petulant kick that got him banned for the final few games of our season.
If I had to predict it, I’d say Dubravka will sign permanently, Kenedy will return on loan and we’ll look at other forward options over Slimani.