This is quite incredible if true.
Not only would this highlight the lack of trust Rafa has in Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley, it could go on to cost the club over £8m, with Joselu now all set to join La Liga side Alaves for just £1.7m a few months later.
Here’s a snippet from Lee Ryder’s piece on Joselu in the Chronicle, revealing that we could’ve sold him for £10m in January:
‘Rafa Benitez believed he could have netted a fee of £10million for Joselu from a Chinese club back in January, but did not push the button on the deal as he feared the former Real Madrid man would not be replaced.
‘Joselu is also expected to take a drop in wages and while Benitez has still not signed a contract extension he is likely to sanction the striker’s exit back to Spain.
‘Indeed, Benitez has a good rapport with Joselu and he would not stand in the way of the three-year contract that is on the table.’
Some will believe this is absolute nonsense, but when you consider the fact Rondon would’ve been our only out and out striker at the club had Joselu left in January, you can see why Rafa would be reluctant to let the Spaniard leave without a replacement.
If Rafa signs this summer, he will need assurances he clearly wasn’t getting just a few months ago.
In a summer where Hayden, Perez, Diame and Shelvey are all at risk of leaving, he has to know money will be made available to sign quality replacements.
If not, I fully expect him to demand that we only sell once we’ve signed a replacement – but I fear Mike Ashley and co. don’t work like that, with them being reactive risk taking, not prepared and proactive.