Ki Sung-yueng has been brought in by Rafa to replace Mikel Merino who will leave Newcastle soon for Real Sociedad for around £11M.
Mikel grew discontent on Tyneside this year when he couldn’t make the first team with Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey in outstanding form in the middle of the Park for Newcastle.
But that’s getting to be a pattern, with the 21-year-old leaving Borussia Dortmund last summer because he didn’t get enough playing time there either.
Ki in action for Swansea
The signing of Ki is a good one and the South Korean captain is an accomplished and experienced player.
There’s a very good piece on the Premier League website from Adrian Clarke and why Ki could become a key player for Newcastle:
“Rafael Benitez’s preference for a counter-attacking strategy for Newcastle United last season was understandable.”
“Newcastle’s three most impressive victories came in matches where they saw little of the ball.”
“At home they beat Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea with shares of possession totaling 35.9%, 28.2% and 41.9% respectively.”
“It would ease the load on their defence if they took greater care in possession of the ball.”
“Newcastle’s players too often handed the initiative back to their opponents, sometimes through forcing a forward pass that was not on or by losing the ball cheaply.”
“The signing of Ki Sung-yueng is perhaps an indication of change.”
“”At Swansea City last season Ki boasted a pass accuracy of 88%, with an 83% success rate in the opposition half.”
“These figures were far superior to Benitez’s central midfielders last season.”
“And Ki’s calming presence will give the side added comfort in possession.”
What tells us that Rafa knew all about those stats on Ki before he signed him?
As we said Ki could become a key player for us next season – excuse the pun.