Wanted in 2018, now price £26m: Benitez had a Newcastle howler on World Cup “hero” – opinion

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Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez stays a preferred determine at St James’ Park following his spectacular stint in cost, having guided the Magpies out of the second tier and solidified them again within the high flight amid the backdrop of the turbulent Mike Ashley regime.

One error that the northeast facet could now effectively be ruing, nonetheless, is the Spaniard’s failure to signal Japan’s World Cup star, Ritsu Doan, with the fleet-footed ahead having seemingly been a goal for the Tynesiders again in 2018.

The suggestion on the time was that the Premier League facet – in addition to Manchester Metropolis – have been preserving a detailed eye on the then-Groningen gem forward of the upcoming January switch window, with the teen mentioned to be accessible for a cut price price of simply £1.7m.

The 5 foot 9 sensation – who had begun his profession at J-League facet Gamba Osaka – had initially come to wider consideration after scoring ten objectives throughout a promising mortgage spell within the Netherlands within the 2017/18 marketing campaign, earlier than making the transfer to affix the Eredivisie facet completely that summer season.

As no transfer to England got here to fruition, Doan would go on to finish the 2018/19 season at Groningen earlier than becoming a member of Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, occurring to attain 13 objectives and supply six assists for the membership after that.

That tally features a haul of 11 objectives in all competitions final time period after having spent the earlier season on mortgage at German facet, Arminia Bielefeld.

That glowing kind noticed the 24-year-old snapped up by Bundesliga outfit Freiburg for a price of round £7.7m in the summertime, with that change already proving fruitful because the winger has 4 objectives and 4 assists to his title in 22 appearances to this point this time period, having been lauded by the membership’s sporting director Klemens Hartenbach, who acknowledged:

“Ritsu is technically gifted, can take on one-on-ones and knows how to pose a threat to goal.”

The 31-cap sensation – who has been dubbed the ‘Japanese Messi‘ – has carried that kind onto the worldwide stage, having netted a significant equaliser for his nation off the bench within the beautiful win over Germany on Wednesday, changing into a “national hero” within the course of, as per journalist Dan Orlowitz.

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The attention-catching expertise lashed in from shut vary to attract the Asian nation degree, earlier than teammate Takuma Asano fired dwelling from an acute angle late on to finish one of many shock outcomes of the event so far.

Though Doan had been compelled to attend for his likelihood, he actually made his mark in his 19-minute outing apart from simply getting on the scoresheet, having additionally loved a 100% cross accuracy fee and received 75% of his floor duels, whereas additionally recording a 7.5 match ranking, as per SofaScore.

Such an electrical exhibiting has effectively proven Newcastle simply what they missed out on, with the explosive expertise’s rise additionally illustrated by the truth that he’s now valued at round £26m, as per CIES Soccer Observatory, with that a large enhance on what Benitez and co seemingly may have paid for him.

As such, the latter man – and the membership as an entire – seemingly had a howler on that switch failure.

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