Brazilian winger Kenedy has signed a second loan deal with Newcastle United, after impressing since joining Rafa Benitez’s men back in January. But his return is less about just another body over the line, but more about what it represents.

 

Firstly, it shows the pulling power of the manager, who had been instrumental in attracting the player to join temporarily in January in the first place. Benitez is still highly regarded at Stamford Bridge after securing a Europa League title in his few months there.

 

Benitez had wanted Kenedy last summer, however the club only sanctioned his release once Emerson Palmieri arrived from Roma after the turn of the year. But his persistence, and the respect he commands meant we saw a young raw player finally getting a serious chance at first team Premier League football.

 

He didn’t disappoint.

 

His debut against Burnley was electrifying, and his other best performances arguably came in the crucial 3-0 win against Southampton scoring two very different but spectacular goals, and the massive 1-0 win over Huddersfield where he set up Ayoze Perez’s winner that afternoon.

 

Away from St James’, he also played an integral part in the surprising 2-1 win away to Leicester, producing the incredibly ‘giffable’ elastico move between two opposition players.

And that’s the second point to make – his natural ability is far beyond any of the other wide players currently on Newcastle’s books. When you talk about signings taking a team onto the next level, Kenedy is just that. And there’s no limit to how far he can actually go in the game.

 

Indeed Leipzig, PSG, Spurs and Bayern Munich have all been credited with an interest in the player, but having experienced the Geordie adulation, the incredible run after the new year, and seeing St James’ Park at its very best, Kenedy found a club where he’d get license to express himself, and not have to sit on the bench behind £100m worth of talent ahead of him.

 

It’s not outrageous to draw parallels with Romelu Lukaku’s Everton career. After a successful year at West Brom, he then upgraded for his second loan deal away from parent club Chelsea. That first year at Goodison proved his goalscoring exploits in the Premier League were no anomaly. At the end of that season, Everton splashed out an (at the time) eye-watering £28m, a club record – which years later looked a snip as they sold the Belgian to Man Utd for an initial £75m as the market inflated dramatically.

 

If buying Kenedy outright is going to cost £20m-£30m, then it’s a no brainer to secure him on a permanent deal. Under Rafa, and playing first team football in one of the best league in world football, his talent will be nurtured and his development will be fast tracked in comparison to sitting on the bench at an elite club.

 

His presence and confidence in the side seemed to rub off onto the players around him too. We suddenly had a highly-technical, pacy and flair winger again, but one that was tactically and defensively aware. His flicks and tricks don’t feel like they’re just for show, but all have a purpose – to beat a man or create an opening. A skillset not completely unlike his compatriot and friend Willian, although only time will tell if he can reach those levels of performance as he learns his trade.

 

Of course, this is Newcastle United, so beyond Rafa’s reputation there were caveats to how a player of Kenedy’s quality ended up on loan to a newly-promoted side, despite the history of the club, the stadium, and the size and passion of the fan base.

 

Kenedy was involved in some off-field controversy last summer, which seemed to make up the club’s mind about his long-term future at Chelsea, which would’ve alerted Benitez and his networks. Secondly, the Brazilian is reported to be paid a relative pittance by his parent club, which helps a club notorious for being thrifty both with transfer fees and wages. Kenedy is a player who doesn’t seem as motivated by money, rather he’s simply looking for an outlet to show the world his talent.

 

With a full pre-season and getting to see out the 2018-19 campaign from start to finish at Newcastle, we will really be able to see if he matches the potential Rafa and the fans know he is capable of.

 

Regardless whether it’s another loan or not, this is an exciting signing that will lift the whole squad and might even persuade some other transfer targets that Rafa’s project is one they will not want to miss out on.

 

Reports suggest that this second loan deal has an option to buy clause – it’s an option I can’t imagine we won’t take up come May.

 

Adam Widdrington – @thetoonnetwork