Rafa Benitez addresses the longer-term futures of loanees Kenedy and Islam Slimani at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez says Kenedy and Islam Slimani could have longer-term futures at Newcastle United.
Kenedy. Picture by Frank ReidKenedy. Picture by Frank Reid
Kenedy. Picture by Frank Reid

Kenedy and Slimani arrived on loan from Chelsea and Leicester City respectively in last month’s transfer window.

The loan deals for the pair did not have options to buy.

However, United manager Benitez has an open mind about the future.

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“In football, you never know,” said Benitez, who could hand Slimani his debut in Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

“When you have a loan with an option, then you have an option and it’s simple.

“But if you don’t, then it doesn’t matter.

“Players are moving around all the time, so it depends how the player feels – if he feels comfortable then he will say ‘OK, I want to stay here’. Then we can start talking.

“The main thing, for me, is that these new players, they want to perform, they want to do well – even if they’re on loan – and the others, they have to perform if they want to stay in the team.”

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A number of Newcastle players, including Aleksandar Mitrovic, Henri Saivet and Rolando Aarons, were loaned out on transfer deadline day.

Mitrovic signed for Fulham, while Saivet joined Sivasspor and Aarons moved to Hellas Verona.

“We have a situation where players were not playing,” said Benitez.

“Saivet, for example, was only playing against West Ham and the other day (against Chelsea last weekend).

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“I was happy with him, but he had an opportunity. He has to play.

“You cannot keep a player when he isn’t playing if he has the World Cup (to aim for) and he needs to play to stay there.

“Rolando Aarons, a young player who was not playing (was also not playing).

“Now I have brought in Kenedy. Rolando was not a problem for Ritchie, Atsu or Murphy – now you have Kenedy, so everybody has to think ‘wake up’.

“Then they’re on their toes and are ready.”