Newcastle literally took months to get Frenchman Florian Lejeune signed up last summer even though we had activated the release clause in his contract at Eibar.
Exactly what Lee Charnley and company were doing during that time is a good question.
It’s something that Rafa wants to simplify and speed up this summer.
Florian looked a good player in preseason but was injured in the first half of our first league game against Tottenham and in came Jamaal Lascelles.
Lejeune found it difficult to get back into the team with Ciaran Clark in fine form but he got his chance and in the second half of the season and was a star in our defense and looked an outstanding player.
We expect Florian to be even better next season as he continues to partner Lascelles at the back.
Florian Lejeune – in action against Arsenal
It took some time for Lejeune to recover from the foot injury inflicted on him by a poor tackle from England striker Harry Kane in that first game of the season.
There’s news from Spain today that new Sevilla boss Pablo Machin wants to build the defense around him at Sevilla.
The two were together at Girona in the 2015-2016 season when Lejeune was loaned out by his new club Manchester City to the Spanish club.
The outlet Estadio Deportivo are claiming that Machin wants him at Sevilla, but we don’t expect Newcastle to sell unless we get silly money for him.
Newcastle spent £8.7M on him last summer, and Rafa would want more than twice that amount if he was to leave this summer.
Lejeune looks like he could become a real star at Newcastle, and as we said earlier, he has looked an excellent defender this year as he got more experience playing in the Premier League.
Florian is cool, calm and collected at the back and good on the floor and in the air and he seems to love working with Rafa Benitez.
Jamaal Lascelles is also wanted by Everton and Chelsea, so it’s good our players are getting some recognition from top clubs – it shows they are outstanding players.
Both Lascelles and Lejeune look like they have an excellent partnership in the making at Newcastle.