Rafa Benitez’s Tyneside ‘Rafalution’ is set to continue with The Chronicle reporting that Vurnon Anita will be let go at the end of the season – despite the Spaniard praising his impact this campaign.
The former Real Madrid boss has not allowed sentiment to rule sense since arriving at St James’ Park in May, Cheick Tiote becoming the latest long-serving player to be shunted out of Newcastle in the last 10 months.
Benitez has parted company with five of the club’s eleven longest serving players in that time and, according to The Chronicle, versatile full-back/tenacious midfielder Anita could follow in the footsteps of Papiss Cisse, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko and Tim Krul.
The Dutch international, who has enjoyed five-and-a-half mixed years as a Magpie is out of contract at the end of the season and Benitez is unlikely to hand him an opportunity to stick around beyond June.
And the decision will come as a surprise to both fans and neutral observers alike, especially after the 56-year-old was effusive in his praise earlier in the season.
“[Anita is] clever, he’s someone you can trust and I am very happy with him,” Benitez told The Chronicle.
After all, Anita has slotted in at defensive midfield as well as both full-back positions with distinction this season, offering versatility and balance across the entire team.
Therefore, could Benitez regret sanctioning the departure of the ultimate utility man?