At the start of the summer there was debate at Newcastle whether high profile players like Andros Townsend, Gini Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko and Daryl Janmaat would push for a move away from Newcastle.
The first three have certainly pushed for a move away – in no uncertain terms – and Andros and Gini have both left the club already.
It seems Andros couldn’t wait to leave and joined – of all clubs – Crystal Palace – at the end of June.
Andros Townsend – couldn’t get out of the door quickly enough
What tells him that Crystal Palace and Alan Pardew are a step up from Newcastle and Rafa Benitez – even when we are in the second division – is a very good question.
Newcastle did get great fees for the two who have left – we didn’t have any real control on Andros’ fee since the £13 was in the release clause of his contract, but Newcastle have just received a whopping £25M from Liverpool for Gini Wijnaldum.
Moussa Sissoko will go as soon as some club bids £35M for him and the same with Daryl Janmaat when a club comes in with a £10M bid for the Dutchman.
We would be very surprised if either of these two players are with us for next season.
Moussa has told everybody almost as soon as he arrived at Newcastle hat he wanted to leave for a bigger club, so we should let him go – but only for £35M – and not many Newcastle fans will be sorry to see the back of him.
He scored one goal and has 5 assists for us last season – so you see what we mean – he will not be missed.
And Daryl Janmaat will have seen he now has competition at right back in Jesus Gamez, Vurnon Anita and young Jamie Sterry, so we expect Daryl to move on too.
So any hopes that some of the four would stay and even come out and say they wanted to stay – have gone.
And we haven’t even mentioned Florian Thauvin and we will be very surprised if the Frenchman is with us come September, even though he told one fan he was staying – that response is what you call being politically correct.
But maybe the fact that these high profile players wanted to leave the club is part of the reason we were relegated last season.
We didn’t have the players who had any real feeling for Newcastle United and certainly when the going got tough last season some of them simply disappeared in games.
And when we were relegated the four didn’t want to stay and fight, even though Rafa has let them know they were part of the problem and should be part of the solution.
That went way over their heads.
But Rafa Benitez showed loyalty and he stayed.
There’s not much loyalty these days with these highly paid players, but I suppose we shouldn’t expect any?
With all four players likely to have gone by September, the (very) important thing is that Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley replace them with quality players – and that will not be easy.
But if we can do that then things will continue to be upbeat at Newcastle and we will of course go all out for instant promotion back to the Premier League.
This experience is similar to seven years ago when Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Damien Duff, Habib Beye and Sebastien Bassong all pushed for a move away from Newcastle when we relegated.
It was easy for Owen and Viduka since their contracts had run out at Newcastle.
But at least like seven years ago, we will only have those players who want to be at the club.
Given we do get promoted next May, the experience of last season and back in 2009 simply cannot be repeated.
Howay The Lads!!