There were a ridiculous number of players linked with a move to Newcastle following promotion last summer, however there was also quite a few players who we ended up ‘missing out on’ despite Benitez’s best efforts.
Here’s a look at a few we’ll be glad didn’t sign last summer – with the first of our five being a particularly incredible story..
This one is quite extraordinary. Despite the Portuguese centre-back being strong linked with a move from Sporting Lisbon last summer – which looked like it was happening at one point – he ended up joining Villarreal for .
His time in Spain has been eventful to put it mildly, but for all the wrong reasons. He was not only arrested in January after ‘threatening a nightclub employee with a firearm’, but he was charged with attempted murder just a month later, with the 23-year-old (and two accomplices) being accused of tying up a man before taking his keys and robbing his apartment.
He’s been suspended (without pay) by Villarreal and is facing jail time. A huge bullet dodged – quite literally!
It was suggested on several occasions that Rafa was weighing up a loan move for Hart last summer as he looked to bring in his own number one. After several unconvincing performances at West Ham, it’s a blessing that we ended up with Dubravka instead.
Hart would’ve been on big wages too so this was an expensive mistakes dodged.
Following our promotion back to the Premier League, the striker was named as one of our top attacking targets last summer. He was entering the last year of his contract at Burnley, so we’d have been hopeful of striking a cut-price deal, however Watford ending up paying a whopping £20m to sign him.
I’ve watched him a few times this season and I can safely say it’s a good job we didn’t bother paying £10m for him – never mind double that! He looks so under confident and erratic in front of goal, doesn’t hold it up well and looks limited technically – even if he is good physically. He’s scored just 5 league goals all season – which is one less than Gayle and just one more than Joselu – and Watford fans aren’t fond of him at all from what I hear. Big bullet dodged.
Even during our time in the Championship, Rafa was credited with interest in the Irish midfielder, and that continued last summer following promotion. He’s been plagued with injury problems ever since and has barely kicked a ball all season.
He missed the first month of the season with a knee injury, the next few months with a hamstring problem and then broke his tibia and fibula in January. He wouldn’t have come cheap, so that’s an expensive mistake Benitez will be glad to have avoided.
He was linked over the summer (presumably as an option instead of Lejeune) and Sky then claimed we were looking to have him on loan in January. He ended up going to Everton and not only did he get crocked, he looked absolutely woeful in the short time he spent on the pitch at Goodison.
Maybe Rafa could get the best out of the centre-back City paid £32m to sign, but I am relieved we signed Lejeune and not him.
Have we missed any obvious ones? Or do you think any of the above could have actually done well under Benitez?