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Newcastle United

Newcastle round-up: 2017/18 fixtures released; Pepe Reina’s agent comments on future; Matz Sels targeted by Fenerbahce

Jake Jackman



Newcastle United are back in the big time and their fixtures were released on Wednesday morning, as the excitement builds on Tyneside ahead of the new season. They start their campaign with a home match against Tottenham Hotspur, which happened to be the fixture that ended their last run in the Premier League.

The Magpies recorded an excellent 5-1 win on that day, although they had already been relegated to the Championship. They close their season welcoming the current Premier League champions, Chelsea, to St James’ Park.

Rafa Benitez will be delighted with the fixtures that his team have been given, as they don’t face another top six side after the opening day until the 30th September, when they welcome his old club Liverpool to Tyneside. There is a good opportunity for the club to pick up points early on and put a substantial points gap between them and the bottom three. The Spaniard won’t be aiming for Premier League survival as his primary goal, but it is the first hurdle for the team to overcome.

Pepe Reina has been heavily linked with a move to Tyneside and his agent has admitted that the Premier League is an option for his client. The Chronicle report that the club have explored the option of signing the Spaniard, but they are not convinced that he is worth paying the £5 million asking price. Manuel Garcia Quillon, the player’s agent, told Calciomercato:

“The Premier League? We’re talking about an important player who a lot of teams would like, but his priority is to stay with Napoli.

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“Is a renewal impossible? I don’t know, we discussed it but for now we haven’t moved forward.”

He is coy in his comments, but they suggest that the goalkeeper has an uncertain future and that a move is possible for the Spaniard. Although he is getting to the end of his career, he would be a great signing for Newcastle, which would send out a statement of intent to the rest of the division. Also, he would be a great figure to have around the training ground, especially for Freddie Woodman, who is considered the future Magpies’ number one.

If Reina was to sign for the club, they would have to make room by selling at least one of their existing goalkeepers. The Chronicle report that Fenerbahce are interested in ending Matz Sels’ nightmare spell on Tyneside, with a loan deal for the Belgian. There has been a lot of interest in the keeper and Newcastle would want to recoup some of the £5.5 million that they paid last summer.

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The Magpies need to sell players in order to increase the spending power that Benitez has. Sels has had a poor season in England and it is clear that he isn’t fancied by the United boss. He is a player that they need to get off the books and a loan deal would be a good move from the club. Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot are ahead of him in the pecking order, while Tim Krul is set to return to add competition for the starting position.

Featured image: All rights reserved by MekyCM

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

English Premier League

Paul Dummett’s Wales snub will please Newcastle United fans

The Welshman turned down an international call-up this week.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Paul Dummett has been one of the standout players for Newcastle United this season and his performances haven’t passed Ryan Giggs by.

The new Wales National Team manager has admitted that he has spoken to the left-back with a view to a return to the squad. The Chronicle reported the following quotes:

“I had a conversation with Paul Dummett, because he hasn’t been in the last few squads, and he just felt that it wasn’t the right time to come back.

“He wanted to concentrate on his Newcastle career which I have to respect, and we move on.

“He (Dummett) said that he wanted to concentrate on Newcastle’s relegation fight so I have to respect that at the moment. In the future we will wait and see.”

That will be music to the ears of Newcastle supporters and Rafa Benitez, as Dummett has emerged as a key player for the team since his return from injury.

This season in the Premier League, the Magpies have conceded only 13 times in the 12 matches that the 26-year-old has started.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

That underlines how effective he has been and his importance to the team’s chances of staying in the top-flight.

Although he may not be the most exciting player to watch, Dummett is very good at carrying out a role for the team and it is no surprise that he has become one of Benitez’s most trusted lieutenants.

The Spanish manager enjoys to coach players that listen and carry out his instructions to the letter and his left-back certainly fits under that description.

A quick look at the stats shows how rounded Dummett is as a defender.

He averages 2.83 ball recoveries, 0.78 blocks and 6.85 clearances per ninety minutes. Meanwhile, he is very good in the air as shown by his aerial duels win rate of 57.41%.

He was once a scapegoat for Newcastle supporters and the focus of anger when things weren’t going well. The reason for that was his lack of technical skill, which would make him stand out on the pitch.

However, that side of his game has developed and he is now serviceable in possession. Dummett isn’t going to be cutting sides open with his attacking threat down the left, but he understands his own limitations and that has seen him improve as a player.

The 26-year-old has been part of Wales squads in the past, but he has only played once for his country and his lack of game-time may be a reason why he stepped away from the international arena.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

Last summer, Newcastle issued a statement to explain why Dummett withdrew from the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Serbia, which featured the following quote:

“After a gruelling campaign with the Magpies, in which he played through the pain barrier on several occasions, 25-year-old Dummett is keen to recharge his batteries and spend time with his family and friends in order to ensure he is at peak form and fitness for his hometown team’s return to the Premier League and what promises to be a big campaign for both him and the club.

“He has been supported in his decision by Newcastle boss Rafa Benítez. 

“However, Dummett – who has represented his country from youth level all the way to the senior team – has not closed the door on his international career and hopes to represent the Dragons again in the future.”

It is clear that Newcastle is the priority for Dummett, but it is interesting that he refused to close the door on Wales last summer.

A managerial change since then may lead to further opportunities for the left-back and it is easy to see why Giggs has already reached out to him.

The Newcastle full-back has developed into a Premier League calibre player under Benitez and he will offer an upgrade on the options currently in the Wales squad.

For him, as a player, it may be beneficial to play international football and gain experience at the highest level. Although he didn’t agree to come back at this time, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t return to the fold in the near future. Both parties would benefit from that.

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Newcastle United

Newcastle United fans are livid at Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad

Newcastle fans cannot believe Jonjo Shelvey is not in the England squad.



Gareth Southgate announced his latest England squad earlier today and for Newcastle United fans it was not well received. Newcastle fans were left dumbfounded by the absence of Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles.

Both players have been in good form for Rafa Benitez’s side this season but obviously not enough to make the England team.

The main reason why Newcastle fans have been so frustrated at the omission of the pair revolves around the players who have actually been called up by Southgate.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

In particular, not many fans can understand how Jake Livermore gets the nod ahead of the Shelvey. Livermore has had a poor season with Premier League basement club West Brom and recently made headlines for the wrong reasons. He was one of several West Brom players reprimanded for stealing a taxi in Barcelona last month. Shelvey has outperformed the West Brom player throughout the campaign.

Southgate also gave debut call-ups to Burnley defender James Tarkowski and Swansea City centre-back Alfie Mawson. Their inclusion ahead of Newcastle captain also baffled many fans at St James’ Park. Whilst Tarkowski and Mawson have both had good seasons, it is hard to see how either has bettered Lascelles throughout the campaign.

Southgate has decided to experiment with that pair entering the fray, but for many, the Newcastle players were far more deserving.

(Photo by Matthew Ashton/Getty Images)

Such sentiment is not reserved for just Newcastle fans either, with the majority of fans believing both Newcastle players deserved a chance.

This was seemingly both players last chance to make the England squad for the World Cup in the summer.

Here is some of the best reaction to the news on Twitter…

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Newcastle United

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley must release funds to Kenedy this summer

The forward scored twice in the Magpie’s weekend victory over Southampton.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United took a huge step to safety this past weekend thanks to on-loan winger Kenedy who scored a brace against Southampton. The rest of the results at the bottom went for the Magpies and optimism about their chances increased significantly.

There will be nobody on Tyneside getting too complacent, not least Rafael Benitez, but the manager could be forgiven for having one eye on the summer.

It promises to be a crucial one for the club as it remains on the market, while there will be more rumours about the future of Benitez. There has been friction between the board and the manager in recent windows, which will come into focus again this summer.

Regardless of his desire to sell the club, Mike Ashley needs to appreciate the worth of his manager and make sure that his biggest asset remains at St James’ Park.

A quick way to do that this summer will be to sign Kenedy on a permanent deal from Chelsea. The Mirror report that the winger will be available for £15 million and that would be a great price for a player with his quality. He has immediately improved Newcastle since joining and provided some much-needed quality in the final third.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

During his first six matches, he has scored twice and got one assist. Considering Newcastle’s struggles in the final third throughout this season, Kenedy has provided end product that had previously been lacking. It is too soon to judge him fully, but he has come in and made an impact straight away in a team fighting relegation. That shows both talent and a good mentality.

The Magpies have been a working progress under Benitez this season. Their underlying numbers are good, but they have lacked the quality to produce the results required. Since Kenedy arrived, they have lost only one of their six Premier League matches and that came against an in-form Liverpool team.

As stated above, it is early days for the Brazilian at St James’ Park, but his attacking contributions have been impressive. The 22-year-old is currently averaging 1.02 chances created and 2.86 attempted shots per ninety minutes.

He hasn’t been perfect, with his decision making being questionable at times. However, he has stood out as one of the more talented players in the team and for that reason, he needs to be signed on a permanent deal.

Throughout his tenure as Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley has been reluctant to spend big money and his penny pinching has only got worse as his desire to sell has increased. Since promotion to the Premier League, the club has spent just under £40 million, which isn’t enough to compete with the majority of clubs in the top-flight.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

That needs to change as he needs to make sure Benitez doesn’t leave the club this summer, as it would derail any potential takeover. It is clear that the Newcastle manager would like to bring Kenedy to the club on a permanent basis and if Ashley can make that happen, it will go a long way to protecting his investment.

At the age of 22, there is potential for a big profit in the future, as Kenedy would surely develop on Tyneside under Benitez. The money in the modern game has become silly, but at £15 million, Kenedy would represent value.

He has already emerged as a key player for Newcastle and his importance will increase with game-time. This is a deal that Mike Ashley simply must make happen.

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