Steven Defour backs Chancel Mbemba’s move to Newcastle United

Burnley midfielder Steven Defour has backed former teammate Chancel Mbemba to succeed at FC Porto. The 23-year-old has been heavily tipped to leave Newcastle United to join Porto this summer and Defour, who previously played with him at Anderlecht, believes he could make a huge mark with the PrimeiraLiga outfit.

He said: “Mbemba is a tough defender in the individual marking, he is a fast player who has passing quality and who risks going out to play from the defence, he has a good aerial game, he has talent and qualities to impose on FC Porto. I think he just could not stay at Newcastle, because they made him play right-back, a position that is not his. It was a shame. He is strong from the mental point of view and knows what he wants. He has the ability to impose himself in a club like FC Porto.”
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Rafael Benitez reacts to Fernando Torres speculation

Newcastle United head coach Rafael Benitez has admitted that Fernando Torres could be an attractive summer option for the club, though he is unclear whether the veteran would prefer a return to the Premier League. Torres built a reputation for himself during his top-flight stints with Liverpool and Chelsea, and Benitez had the opportunity to work with the Spaniard at both of those clubs.

In an interview with Marca, Benitez was quizzed about the possibility of a reunion with Torres this summer to which he replied: “I think it will be harder for him to come, not because we don’t want to. I don’t know what’s going on in his head, but maybe he is thinking about something else. It would be attractive, but Idon’t think it would be easy. At Liverpool he was sensational. Then he went to Chelsea and, although he had a bad time when he arrived, he was essential for us in winning the Europa League.”
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Rafael Benitez waiting on Chelsea’s decision on Kenedy

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is reportedly waiting on Chelsea’s decision on Kenedy as he looks to bolster the club’s defence during the winter transfer window. The Brazilian has sparingly been used by Antonio Conte this term with most of his gametime coming in the Cup competitions.

According to Chronicle Live, Benitez is looking to do business with his former club with Kenedy identified as a potential recruit, who could strengthen their chances of Premier League survival. However, any kind of deal is yet to be sorted out with the Blues with Conte reluctant to lose Kenedy for the moment.
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Pogba Must Show a Lot of Consistency to Match Gerrard, Claims Benitez

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba must show a lot of consistency over several years in order to be regarded in the same breath as Steven Gerrard, according to Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard had years of experience of managing the Liverpool midfielder, who is arguably one of the best in the Premier League of the recent generation. Paul Pogba may have joined United for a then-world record £ 90 million transfer fee, but he has split public opinion since then. There have been good performances from the Frenchman, but they have been for a few between.

In order to be regarded as a success in the Premier league, consistency is the key, according to Benitez. After having spent a couple of years at ways clubs like Napoli, Benitez returned to English football with Newcastle. Despite relegation from the top division, Benitez helped the club get promotion straight away. Since the return to the top flight, Newcastle have been relatively comfortable but the team lost 4-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford. It turned out to be with customary defeat at the hands of the Red Devils – even with Benitez on board. During his days at Liverpool, Benitez had an intense rivalry with United. It was largely due to the title challenge that both teams were facing. Now, however, both clubs are at different ends of the spectrum.
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5 signings to see Newcastle bounce back

Despite the appointment of former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez in March, Newcastle United will be scrapping it out in the Championship next season.

The Magpies finished in the bottom three for the second time in just seven years, but the fact that Benitez has agreed to remain in charge at St. James’ Park will help ensure the attraction of fresh talent in the club’s bid for an instant return to the Premier League.

Here are some potential new recruits on Tyneside that could see Newcastle bounce straight back to English football’s top-flight.

Patrick Bamford
Newcastle’s search for a new prolific marksman could lead them to placing their faith in 22-year-old Patrick Bamford. The Chelsea youngster spent the first half of last season on-loan at Crystal Palace before being recruited by Norwich, but it was largely a very frustrating campaign for Bamford who only managed a total of two league starts.

Bamford’s disappointment will undoubtedly motivate him to prove his credentials at the highest level and Benitez will be well aware of the young forward’s track record in England’s second tier – Bamford netted 17 league goals for Middlesbrough during the 2014/2015 season. Such goal-scoring ability in a division as tightly-contested as the Championship comes at a price, and Bamford’s services are estimated to cost in the region of £10m.

Daniel Ayala
Top of Benitez’s summer wish-list will surely be a new centre-back and Middlesbrough’s Daniel Ayala is a player that he knows all about from his days at Liverpool – Benitez brought his fellow Spaniard to Anfield back in 2007.

Newcastle have allegedly already made an enquiry about the 25-year-old, who is believed to carry a hefty price tag of around £15m. But Ayala, who was named in last year’s Football League Team of the Season, is central to Boro’s Premier League plans after their seven-year absence from the top-flight. The promising defender will therefore need to be persuaded by his former boss that a brighter future lies ahead of him at St. James’ Park than at the Riverside.

Kamil Glik
Torino captain Kamil Gilk has reportedly been monitored by Newcastle for several months now, and the hope is that the Polish centre-half will be tempted to Tyneside by the prospect of playing in the Premier League in the near future. It is thought that the Italian side, whom Glik helped get promoted in 2012, would be prepared to sell their skipper for a bid around the £8m mark.

With Glik set to be at the heart of Poland’s defence at Euro 2016, Newcastle will certainly be watching their supposed target with particular interest over the coming weeks. If the 28-year-old manages to impress during the tournament, no doubt Newcastle will not be the only club eager to secure his signing.

Will Hughes
England U-21 man Will Hughes has apparently been shortlisted by Newcastle to compensate for the probable departure of the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum this summer.

The Derby County midfielder burst into the spotlight during the 2012/2013 campaign and has long been subject to open admiration from potential suitors. The Magpies are the latest side to be linked with a move for the 21-year-old, even though Hughes only managed to make six Championship starts last term due to a serious knee injury. Given Hughes’ likely England aspirations, he might find the opportunity to play under the experienced Benitez one that is too invaluable to turn down should an offer be made.

Alvaro Arbeloa
Another former Benitez favourite could also be heading to the Toon – former Spain right-back Alvaro Arbeloa. Just like Ayala, it was Benitez who was responsible for introducing Arbeloa to the English game, and the 33-year-old would be available on a free transfer this summer after his contract with Real Madrid expired at the end of last season.

Newcastle are in the market for a right-back, with Daryl Janmaat widely expected to be heading for the exit door after only two seasons at St. James’ Park. Whether or not Arbeloa, whose personal honours include two Champions League titles and a World Cup winner’s medal, can be convinced that he’s not too good a player for the Championship is less certain.

NOT LACKING IN LEADERSHIP

Fabricio Coloccini has rejected suggestions that Newcastle United’s poor form has been down to the lack of leadership in the team.

After the appointment of Steve McClaren in the summer, positivity was expected at St James’s Park. However, it took the club more than 10 games in order to get the first league win under the new manager.

The club recently broke the back in the form of a 6-2 win over Norwich City. However, they were unable to build on this victory and suffered to winless matches before going on to get a narrow 1-0 win over newly promoted Bournemouth, with many questioning Coloccini’s leadership.

There is an opportunity for Newcastle to build on this victory once again as the takeover Leicester City at home. Even though Leicester are flying high in the table, Coloccini and his team are confident of getting a result.

Ahead of the match, the Argentine defender rejected claims that the poor performance has been down to the lack of captains within the team. Coloccini claims that there is a lot of leadership within Newcastle and it is not necessarily exhibited through shouting on the pitch. The win against Bournemouth helped move Newcastle just one point above the relegation zone. Their situation remains critical and the club needs victories soon.

“We have strong characters in this team – that’s not something I’m worried about. Sometimes, when you are having a bet on football, you might not be able to see that from outside the pitch, and maybe sometimes some of the players are not as loud as they should be, but we have leaders. Rob Elliot is a good example because he was injured, but he wanted to play. We have a lot of young players, and they have to learn. Getting the two clean sheets in a row was important,” said Coloccini about the club’s recent form in the league.

CARVER PICKS THE TEAM

John Carver, who is in charge of Newcastle United for the time being, says that he is not one of those managers who would let the club board pick the squad for any game.

According to Carver, to make the selections is the job of the manager and it’s him only who should do it.

People were speculating that Mike Ashley, the Newcastle chairman, might be directing Carver whom to pick and whom not to. But, it’s been denied by Carver.

Speaking yesterday, Carver said, “I would not let anybody do that to me. I cannot be told which players I have to choose. It’s entirely my choice. That is what I am here for, to get the combinations right and to make sure the team plays in an organized way.”

“When they called me up for the first time, I had made my stand pretty clear that I would need freedom in my job and they agreed and they have been very cooperative.”

“If you are thinking that I am working on somebody’s directions, I would like to assure you it’s not the case, not in terms of selections. All the decisions regarding the selections are being made by me and that’s how it should be.”

Carver has had the charge of Newcastle for the remainder of the 2014-15 Season only. He might earn a permanent job if he makes the team deliver really well during this period of time.

With 30 points in 23 games, Newcastle stands 11th in the Premier League right now. Since Carver took over, the Magpies have played 5 games and have lost 3.

Carver was appointed as the interim manager of Newcastle once in 2004 as well. He had managed the team in just one game back then.