Earlier this week, reports in the Sun claimed Claudio Ranieri hoped to swap Fulham captain Tom Cairney for Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in January.
But just days later, Rafa Benitez issued a public denial that he would ever sell Shelvey, ruining Fulham’s hopes of pulling off the surprise swap deal.
In comments reported by Sky Sports, the Newcastle manager said there was “no chance” that Shelvey would leave in January, and Benitez described how integral the Englishman is to the Magpies.
“[Shelvey] and Ki can technically pass the ball well and keep it, they give confidence to the rest of the team. I hope Jonjo will be as important to us for the rest of the season as he was last year,” Benitez said.
With Shelvey seemingly certain to stay at St. James’ Park, it appears unlikely Cairney will be heading to Newcastle in the winter. Although he has fallen out of favour at Craven Cottage under the reign of Ranieri, Fulham would be foolish to sell the Scotland international to Newcastle without a ready-made replacement in mind.
In recent matches Cairney has been utilised in an unfamiliar right-wing position where he has struggled, indicating Ranieri does not see him as his ideal central midfielder.
If Tom Cairney is to leave in January, a swap deal with Newcastle United is now off the table, thanks to a rare public transfer denial from Rafa Benitez.