There was a moment there, in China, when it looked like Kenedy’s career with Chelsea was over. He was sent home in disgrace after posting tweets that Chelsea’s Chinese hosts found offensive.
When he got home, had Chelsea managed to swing a deal for a decent left back in the summer window, he would have been shoved out the door, probably on loan, but perhaps sold. Instead, he labored behind the scenes, never winning Conte’s trust or significant playing time (although he did notch a goal and two assists in the domestic cups.)
In January, Chelsea bought Emerson and there went Kenedy, into the arms of a Newcastle manager who’d been wanting him for a while. Rafa Benitez promptly put Kenedy in his best position, at left wing/left midfield and it’s paid off both in goals and in contentment for the 22 year-old Brazilian. He’s averaged 74 minutes in his six appearances since, has one assist and scored twice in Newcastle’s 3-0 over Southampton before the break.
Many of our loan players end up feeling frustrated. Kenedy isn’t one of them.
“This new phase with Newcastle’s shirt makes me quite happy. It is very difficult for a player to stay off pitch for a long while, especially to get back in Premier League’s [game] rhythm.”
Beyond the basic fact that he’s playing a lot and that it seems to be going well, Kenedy wants to stick around for another reason. He likes his manager, regardless of the man’s chequered history with Chelsea. While it’s far from certain that Rafa will be at St James’ Park next season, the Chelsea loanee would like more of the same, please.
”If it is good for everyone, it would be a pleasure to keep donning the shirt of such a big team.”
”[Benitez] insists that I learn how to speak English. He acts like a father, and I learn a lot from him.”
-Kenedy; source: UOL
That sounds suspiciously like Kenedy is maturing under Rafa’s tutelage. If last summer proved anything, it’s that maturity is something he badly needs. So if Benitez does commit to another year on Tyneside, then it’s probably in Chelsea’s best interests to give our young Brazilian what he wants.
And in return, a year and a half from now we may get back a speedy, fearless player who has finally grown into his game, both mentally and physically.