Rafa Opens Up – What’s Happening With Wijnaldum and Sissoko

Rafa has been asked whether it’s possible to keep Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko at the club this summer and he says – well he doesn’t know – but he will try to keep them at Newcastle.

Rafa also shows what a really good manager he is, because he was in contact with Moussa after every game he played for France during the recent Euros.

rafa benitez closeup in cap

Rafa Benitez – talks about keeping Gini and Moussa

If Moussa had some real football sense – he’d stay with Rafa and let the Spanish manager make him into the excellent player he looked for France during the Euros and in his last few games for Newcastle last season.

It was no coincidence that Rafa had coached him from early March and Moussa showed the best form of his career in that time and in the summer for France.

But if the big man leaves for another club this summer, which looks likely – and plays for another manager,  he may just go back to being the same player he’s been at Newcastle – good when he wants to be and is in the mood – but far too often a mediocre player.

Here’s what Rafa has said when asked if thinks he can keep both Wijnaldum and Sissoko at Newcastle for the season:

“Maybe, you never know.” “Our idea is to keep these players, if it’s possible.”

“But we know how football is now and the market and agents.” “Gini has trained really well, and I’m very happy with him.”

“And Moussa , I rate him very highly. He was very good for us at the end of the season and in the Euros.”

“We know what is going on. A lot of people will be asking for them, but, at the moment, we will see if they can stay and improve the team.”

“It not, we will find the best solution for the team.” “I was in contact with him after every game.” “I was delighted because he was doing well and progressing.”

“He was playing at the level he was playing at the last games of last season.” “I think everybody can see the potential of the player.”

“He was enjoying it. I was disappointed because they didn’t win.”

Moussa seems determined to leave, but the danger for him is he could end up on the bench at a bigger club much like Yohan Cabaye did at PSG and Mathieu Debuchy did at Arsenal after leaving the Magpies.

In a year or two we expect Newcastle to have a top team under Benitez and we’d love to see both Moussa and Gini in that team – but that is very unlikely.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Note: On Saturday July 30th, Peruvian Independence Day Nolberto Solano will be attending as special guest at Solano’s Peruvian Cuisine and Nobby will be available for autographs, pose for photos, and a chat!
Here’s details of the event if you would like to book your ticket now.

80 comments so far

  • JP...from The Rock

    Jul 15, 2016 at 7:26 PM

    Comment #1

    I rate Wijnaldum highly and don’t want him to go. Sissoko on the other hand can go. He can be a world beater on his day but that is very few and far between.

    I just don’t understand the hate towards Wijnaldum though. He performed greatly in a team very badly managed last season. He came up with 11 good goals from midfield and was our top scorer. Is much more talented and consistent than Sissoko yet many fans despise him Gini too. I don’t get that. If it is because he stated that he would prefer to be in the Premier League it doesn’t make sense, cause honestly who wouldn’t want to be in the Premier League. If it is because he failed to register a goal away from home it makes even less sense.

    Injust hope we get rid of Sissoko the waster and keep the good player we have in Wijnaldum.

  • Belfast

    Jul 15, 2016 at 7:33 PM

    Comment #2

    Think it’s probably the fact he didn’t turn up for one away game all season.

    He is a much better player than Sissoko though.

  • GeordieTwo

    Jul 15, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #3

    Wini not only didn’t score a single away goal, he also looked completely disinterested most of the time in away games. Shocking. Don’t know what to make of him really. That kind of attitude won’t work with Rafa.

  • lukes26

    Jul 15, 2016 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #4

    For me, Gini was far more inconsistent than Sissoko.

    Sissoko you could depend on to be effective for 50-60 minutes a game, before fading.

    Part of the problem with Sissoko for the past two seasons is Newcastle never had a threat on the Left..until Townsend arrive….., Dummett/Ameobi or Dummett/Gini are never going to beat you on the LW.

    Sissoko was asked to do too much and defenses knew we had no other threat

    Gini didnt defend very well…gave up possession far too easily in so many games

    How this blog decided on scapegoating sissoko is beyond me. mob mentality i guess

  • Our Toon

    Jul 15, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    Comment #5

    Gini’s first season outside of Holland, scored 11 goals in an awfully managed team and went missing away from home. Overall he did well considering in my eyes, plenty of players have completely failed in this league in the first season including the likes of Ozil.

  • jazzyp

    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    Comment #7

    First i feel sorry for sicknote. If he was an horse they would have put him down by now.

    On Gini granted never showed up for an away game, But how many positions was he asked to play in. He was played across the entire midfield. Up front, Behind the forward. As a no10, As a defensive midfielder.
    The guy was played all over the park and never in a constant position to settle in or make his own.

    Put it this way i would sooner have him in the team then against us

  • Jib

    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:19 PM

    Comment #8


    Come on Rafa push the boat out .
    It will only cost us €47 million twice
    Easy terms over 24 months.

  • Jib

    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    Comment #9

    190 games for Real Madrid 107 goals
    94 games for Napoli 71 goals

  • Yo-yo

    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    Comment #10


    Are you thinking of a Sissoko – Campbell trade or part trade ?

  • Jib

    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:56 PM

    Comment #11

    It’s a new one to me.
    Don’t shout at me if it doesn’t work !

  • Munster Mag

    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    Comment #13

    Ed and others. Will you please stop calling them Bohemian , or Bohemian FC. They are called Bohemians , or Bohs for short.

  • Jib

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    Comment #14

    Don’t forget
    Monday August 1st
    9 a.m.
    Open training session SJP – entrance free

  • Jib

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:04 PM

    Comment #15

    Looks like Bohemian FC to me like.
    Just saying like
    Lucky I’m not Tuffty or I might be crowing

  • Belfast

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #16

    Munster is correct. That’s what I’ve always thought they were called.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    Comment #17

    Nice info jib, always appreciated.

    Go munster, you tell them! 😉 It’s like those cheeky so n so’s who call us Newcatsle innit? 😉

    Tuff, we know your reason for slagging off Arma. Let’s not pretend. At least be grown up about it… no, cancel that bit. It’s simply impossible.

  • Belfast

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:32 PM

    Comment #18

    Check the league table on yer link Jib and you’ll see they’re called Bohemians on the league table. 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:39 PM

    Comment #19

    Sadly, i’ve reached the point where I couldn’t care less whether they go or not. The major problem is we’ll not replace either this season, because, as they’ve shown, players as wonderful as them simply won’t drop a league – which is why i understand Rafa’s standpoint. Any so called verbal agreement is null and void anyway, if there’s any truth in it at all. The man allegedly making it has moved on, which instantly raises suspicion.
    How about we give them a new contract? 12 months only. Stay and get us promoted and we will sell you for a reasonable price next summer – guaranteed. Obviously the small print must contain effort and attitude, but that way we win, win, win. We get promoted. We cash in nicely and get rid next season. Lets be honest, even if we got 60m for the pair, we couldn’t replace them this season. Just an idea to try and smooth the waters.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    Comment #20

    I’ve just taken a look at the club badge. It reads Bohemian FC. HOWEVER, everywhere else they’re called Bohemians. Could it be like Tottenham Hotspur, who are always called Spurs? Hopefully, because that makes everybody correct! 😉

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:04 PM

    Comment #21

    Wow, a military coup is underway in Turkey. Will the nutters not be happy until the world is in flames? Sorry for the politics, but it is important.

  • clinath@ed

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:08 PM

    Comment #22

    Bobby….just found out in the last 10 mins that our holiday in Turkey has been cancelled due to Low Cost Holidays going bump.
    Now a coup in the country, don’t know whether to be relieved or pissed off. Ffs

  • jimmysmith

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:09 PM

    Comment #23

    Now we see the method in the madness in having 4 top number 10’s, when you don’t have a single top class left back, and one too few decent CB’s. You can sell two of them for a substantial profit and not miss them so much, seeing as it made us so lopsided we got relegated.

    Sissoko and Widjaldum are very good, but I doubt we’d have gone down had we had an equally good CB, and LB in their places.

    Wijnaldum was a good player that we were capable of getting, but not the player we needed. Townsend came too late, but really we needed a left winger anyway seeing as Thauvin failed so dismally.

    I don’t want to sell either of them because I think we can’t replace them with the same quality, and because I think keeping them increases our chances of coming straight back, but I think a side like






    for example would be as formidable as anything we fielded last season, simply because all the players would be in their favoured positions, and would leave us with a bench of genuine understudies to slot into the same formation, or change it up.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:13 PM

    Comment #24

    Clint, maybe being grateful you ain’t caught up in it all might be best marra, regardless of how much money it’s cost. I hope your insurance covers it mate. Always knew letting Turkey into the EU was a massive error, but seriously, it couldn’t have happened at a worst time really. It’ll be open border time. Dangerous times mate.

  • clinath@ed

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:16 PM

    Comment #25

    Yeah, that’s what I’m telling the missus. Got a fight for the money now, as the company moved to Spain and are not covered by ABTA….happy days.
    Might take the dog to Cornwall instead, that’s the Labrador by the way.

  • jimmysmith

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:20 PM

    Comment #26






    Alternatively should in theory murder most Championship teams. We do still need a quality CB.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:20 PM

    Comment #27

    Jimmy, i hope perez has a better season than last one, because he was a big disappointment following his first season. At times he just looked like he didn’t want to be there. A season below might actually be the best thing for all concerned, as mad as that sounds.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:26 PM

    Comment #28

    Clint mate, genuinely gutted for you. What a horrible thing to happen to anybody. Don’t wish to be the harbinger of doom, but without ABTA i’m not sure where you go. So now some slimy git is sitting somewhere counting his ill gotten gains without a second thought to the dreams he’s shattered. It’s well beyond time that holiday companies were forced to join ABTA or lose their licence to trade.

  • clinath@ed

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    Comment #29

    Bobby….it’s only money mate.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    Comment #30

    Clint, that’s the long and short of it and a very mature way to view it. Respect marra.

  • jimmysmith

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    Comment #31

    Bobby you’d expect Perez and every other player in the squad to do very very well, because of the drop in the standard of the opposition, the better balanced squad, and Benitez preparing them. There really can’t be any excuses for the players this time round.

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 10:47 PM

    Comment #32

    Jimmy, the reality is we should win the league whether those two stay or go. We can’t replace them in the Championship and anyone expecting us to might get a nasty surprise. £30m players don’t do that! Having seen the difference Rafa made in a short time, I’m confident he’ll bring us back up. I’m just hoping Arma gets fit enough to prove himself, with Rafa never having watched him live. He needs to get fit, then match fit, before getting his chance. My long term study of him convinces me he’s still our most natural finisher by a mile and it would be our loss to send him back out on loan.
    On paper your second team looks the best, but I personally like the first one if I’m honest. Apart from Arma obviously! 😉 😉

  • BandB

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #33

    Great read lads.

  • BandB

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:24 PM

    Comment #34

    I can’t think of anything more edgy than a man considering taking his Labradog to Cornwall as a booby prize.
    Still, it’s only money Dot.
    Mustn’t grumble, Pauline.

  • BandB

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:25 PM

    Comment #35

    Anyway, about me soapsuds……..

  • Bobbybee

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:28 PM

    Comment #36

    Still not seen that shrink yet, i see.

  • BandB

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:30 PM

    Comment #37


    I’m not talking to you.
    Just laughing at you.

  • BandB

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:31 PM

    Comment #38

    You chronic bore.

  • welshgeordie9

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    Comment #39


    It’s been nice and peaceful, so for one once just behave, there’s a good girl.

  • Yo-yo

    Jul 15, 2016 at 11:42 PM

    Comment #40

    you really are a patronising richardhead welsh


You must log in to post a comment.