Rafa Benitez’s announcement was a crushing blow for the city, us fans and the VAST majority of our playing squad, but it’s fair to say there’ll be a few fringe players and ‘forgotten men’ who may see his exit as a blessing as far as their Newcastle United careers are concerned.
It’s hardly what we want to hear right now and uninspiring to say the least, but the likes of Dwight Gayle, Rolando Aarons, Achraf Lazaar, Henri Saivet and Jack Colback may ALL be given a clean slate by the new manager this summer – something none of them looked remotely likely to receive had Rafa stayed.
Dwight Gayle is another – a player who’s career at Newcastle looked finished if Rafa stayed, yet without him he must be wondering if a new manager could make him the club’s number 9 again – something he must be desperate for as he craves another chance to prove himself in the Premier League.
Dare I say it, even the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jacob Murphy may be quietly wondering if it could prolong their careers at St James’ Park, with the former dropped on countless occasions last season, being deemed ‘not a Rafa player’ and the latter rarely getting a run in the side following his £12m move two years ago.
The likes of Saivet, Colback and Lazaar are all under contract and said to earn £35-£40k a week at Newcastle – packages they wouldn’t earn elsewhere – so they’re bound to be hopeful the new manager gives them a chance.
Not only that, the fact several star players could now leave won’t be ignored by some of our outcasts. It’s sad to say and may seem a horrible outlook, but if Perez leaves, a chance emerges for Aarons? If Hayden goes, Saivet suddenly becomes one of our few holding midfielders at the club – and the same applies for Colback, god forbid!
Let’s hope a takeover happens and there’s both huge and positive changes made at the club, but it feels hard to ignore bleak possibilities like these now we’re without Benitez and with Mike Ashley as things stand.