Rafa Benitez has told of his relief after Yoan Gouffran stayed at Newcastle United.
The forward scored his first goal since January last year in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Derby County.
So we didn’t have these good offers for him, then talking with him he was happy and I was also pleased to keep him.Rafa Benitez
Gouffran’s future has long looked to lie away from St James’s Park.
But United manager Benitez recalled him to his starting XI after the club lost its first two Championship games.
And the club has gone on to win four successive matches.
Newcastle, however, were willing to let Gouffran, in the last year of his contract, leave in the summer.
“To be fair, during the last 15 days of pre-season we were waiting and maybe expecting to not receive a good offer,” said Benitez. “If we received a good offer for him – not just for us, but for him – with just one year left on his contract, we’d have had to allow him to go.
“So we didn’t have these good offers for him, then talking with him he was happy and I was also pleased to keep him.
“Unless someone comes for a big, big offer for a 30-year-old with one year on his contract, then maybe he will say ‘OK, I have to go.’
“Then we’d have to say ‘yes, you have to do it.’
“But during the last 15 days we were thinking, ‘hopefully they won’t come’, and it turned out like this and I’m really pleased because he’s playing well and he’s working hard.
“He’s a good example for the others – if you work hard you’ll have opportunities.”
Gouffran has had offers from France and Russia.
Benitez said: “Yes, he had offers. He had offers before but it was not exactly the right offer.”