Rafael Benitez has reportedly told Jack Colback that he will not feature in Newcastle United’s Premier League 25-man squad.
This news is a bombshell for Colback. Unlike the others considered surplus to requirements at Newcastle – Tim Krul, Achraf Lazaar and Emmanuel Riviere – the 27-year-old has avoided being exiled to train with the academy. Quite the opposite.
Up until Newcastle’s victory over Wolfsburg last week, Colback has played an active role in Newcastle’s pre- season. But the Shields Gazette “understands that Rafa Benitez does not intend to name him in his squad”. This makes Benitez’s U-turn on the midfielder all the more inconceivable.
A possible explanation for the decision could be to sell Colback. This would help create funds for a marquee signing that Benitez has so far found elusive – the £12m spent on Jacob Murphy hardy whetting the appetite.
It is no secret that Benitez is getting restless at Newcastle. The Spaniard is not happy about the efforts that the powers above are making to improve his squad.
“I am not happy but at the same time for me it’s a challenge,” Benitez said on Sky Sports. “I try to do my best.”
Benitez has attributed Newcastle’s difficulties in the transfer market to a slow start and limited budget.
“It is very hard, the prices are crazy,” he said. “We missed some targets at the beginning and we’re paying for that. Hopefully we can find solutions and bring what we need. It’s not what you want, it’s what you need.”