Despite being influential in Chelsea’s 2-1 Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth last night, Blues fringe winger Kenedy may find his next full 90 minutes of action away from Stamford Bridge.
According to numerous reports, Rafa Benitez is close to securing a loan move for the 21-year-old to join his struggling Newcastle side on loan in the January transfer window. Per Sportsmail, the Magpies will fork out a loan fee to bring the Brazilian to St James’ Park as they look to bolster their numbers after finding themselves in the middle of yet another bitter relegation battle.
It’s been a tough couple of seasons for the former Brazil U20 international, who joined Chelsea from Fluminense in the summer of 2015 for a fee reported to be in the region of £6 million. After making 20 appearances in his first season at the Bridge, Kenedy had a disappointing spell at Watford on loan last year in which he failed to break into the first team, before finding himself at the centre of a social media scandal during the Blues’ pre-season tour to China this summer.
Although Kenedy was kept at Chelsea by the insistence of boss Antonio Conte for the 2017/18 season, he has found his opportunities for first-team action restricted once again – with his only three appearances coming in the Carabao Cup against admittedly lower-tier opposition. And despite impressing going forward yesterday evening, the 21-year-old did exhibit some trademark defensive frailties as the Blues struggled to cling onto the lead they held over the Cherries; a side currently sitting in 16th place in the Premier League.
As a result, Kenedy may have to prove himself away from Stamford Bridge if he is to have any hope of figuring in Conte’s long-term plans. Newcastle came close to signing the versatile youngster on a temporary deal over summer before talks ultimately broke down, but Rafa may have a much better shot of securing his man this time around.