When he was given his Chelsea debut by Jose Mourinho, soon after arriving from Brazil in the summer of 2015, young Brazilian winger Kenedy’s raw pace, dribbling skills and willingness to bludgeon through opposing players impressed quickly. His involvement that season, 20 appearances in total, turned out to be one of the few things to feel good about during that tumultuous period.
Kenedy was however shipped out on on loan the following summer, before returning six months, 15 minutes of playing time, and one injury later, and spending the twelve months making sporadic appearances for Conte’s Chelsea at left wing-back. In January 2018, Kenedy moved to Newcastle United and his initial start to life with the Toon made it look as if his mercurial talents were at last being fully realized under Rafa Benitez.
“There’s no doubt he can improve a player, and I believe he’s keen to improve me. He’s always talking to me and giving me little pieces of advice. He reminds me about the importance of learning English, and I know he’s right. We have a good relationship and it’s been very nice working with him. Rafa’s a winner and he knows so much about football. He’s one of the best managers in the game, too, so I’m lucky to work with him.”
-Kenedy on Rafa Benitez; November 2018
But there is apparently no fairytale ending in this one either, even after Newcastle decided to bring him back on loan for a full season last summer.
Kenedy has not featured regularly since the calendar turned over to 2019, and he’s been completely omitted from the matchday squad, even, in three of the last six Premier League games. Rafa Benitez’s decision to switch to 3-4-3 system (reminiscent of Kenedy’s decidedly non-halcyon days under Antonio Conte) and the signing of the talented Miguel Almiron in January have not helped, but that’s only part of the story for Kenedy’s poor form and reported “off-field issues”. According to the Chronicle, Newcastle have already started scouting alternative wingers to target in the summer.
'Newcastle United have been scouting wingers across Europe ahead of the summer window, with Kenedy almost certain to return to parent club Chelsea at the end of the season,' reports @ChrisDHWaugh #nufc https://t.co/fnMsIdYlff— The Chronicle (@ChronicleNUFC) April 10, 2019
While Newcastle United have a £30 million option to make Kenedy’s switch to Tyneside permanent in the summer, it’s extremely improbable that Mike Ashley will take that up. Kenedy has only scored 1 goal and provided 1 assist this season, just half of what he contributed in half the time last season. Unless there’s a swift and significant turnaround, there’s high probability that Kenedy will go from being an unwanted man at Newcastle United back to being an unwanted man at Chelsea.