When Nabil Bentaleb joined on loan from Schalke in January, he seemed to blend into the team ethos seamlessly. He’s said the right things and has been a constant source of optimism about the club on social media.
However, his performances on the pitch have been hit or miss, and unfortunately, the misses have outnumbered the hits. That may be harsh considering the unprecedented circumstances surrounding this season, but Bentaleb just hasn’t been near consistent enough since joining.
Bentaleb hadn’t played competitively since April of last year, so it was always going to take time for him to get back up to speed. But he’s just not been able to excel in the middle of the park for Newcastle.
The 25-year-old has made 16 appearances and is likely to get another start against Liverpool on Sunday. His shining moment, thus far, was his performance against Bournemouth, which was far and away his best outing in a Newcastle shirt.
The Chronicle are citing German outlet Bild that Newcastle will have to make a decision on Bentaleb by next Monday.
Newcastle have an £8.6m purchase clause for the midfielder that, if triggered, will allow them to sign the Algerian permanently. But he’s reportedly on £80,000 per week, which puts him joint top with Jonjo Shelvey, who is a far more influential force in this team.
Whether Newcastle can talk Bentaleb down from his lofty wages is uncertain. However, he’s really just not done enough to warrant a permanent move this summer and would likely not be under consideration by our prospective new owners if the takeover had gone through by now.
While he’s a terrific lad and an excellent fit in the dressing room, Newcastle may have to look elsewhere for a midfielder, especially if Bentaleb is adamant about staying on his current wages.