COMMENT By Will Butcher
Newcastle must save Massadio Haidara’s career by allowing him to leave Tyneside with just two weeks remaining in the January transfer window.
The 24-year-old left-back has been sidelined this season until now, as he continues his recovery from a long-term knee problem that has seen him miss more than 12 months of football.
But after making his return to first-team action in the 1-1 FA Cup draw against Birmingham on January 7, here are three reasons why the Frenchman should leave:
Haidara’s recovery from his long spell on the sidelines now hinges on whether he is given first-team football in order to completely recover from the injury that saw him last play against Norwich on October 18 2015 in the Premier League. Allowing him to leave to a side that can offer him first-team football will save his career, as manager Rafa Benitez is unlikely willing to give him a regular place in his starting eleven. Benitez has adopted a vigorous rotation policy at St. James’ Park, which would not aid Haidara’s return.
The Toon planned for the season without the presence of the two-time France Under-21’s international, by bringing in Moroccan ace Achraf Lazaar from Serie A outfit Palermo in the summer. With Lazaar currently providing cover for first-choice left-back Paul Dummett, Haidara is way down the pecking order on Tyneside and will struggle to break his way into the first team with the Toon’s number 19 likely to only receive the odd appearance under former Liverpool boss Benitez. A move away from the north East then, makes more sense.
With 18 months left on his deal, the Toon should sell Haidara now in order to avoid losing the former Nancy full-back on a free transfer in a year’s time. As Lazaar and Dummett remain ahead of him in the pecking order, Haidara will not be given enough time to show Spaniard Benitez that he has what it takes to become first choice at Newcastle and is therefore unlikely to earn a new deal. With that in mind, Newcastle should offload him now in order to bring in some cash for the defender rather seeing him leave on a free transfer in 12 months.
In other Newcastle transfer news, Benitez reportedly wants two new signings before the end of the transfer window.