Despite all of the off-field distractions at Newcastle, Rafa Benitez was still able to inspire the Magpies to a top half finish, ending the season with a 3-0 home win over former club Chelsea.
It’s imperative that Mike Ashley gives Benitez the keys to the club or risk losing the Spaniard, who will not be short of job offers in the summer.
Benitez has truly done a wonderful job at Newcastle this season, particularly after missing out on most of his preferred transfer targets last summer.
If Newcastle do manage to push him out of the club this summer then the supporters will have every right to be furious.
SUCCESS – JAMAAL LASCELLES
When Newcastle reflect on their season, it’s important to note who impressed during the tough times.
Benitez’s side flirted with relegation for much of the season but the one constant during that period was Jamaal Lascelles.
The 24-year-old has shown great leadership skills all season and it’s hardly a surprise that Chelsea have earmarked the defender as a potential long-term replacement for Gary Cahill.
Lascelles may even consider himself unlucky not to have been in the running for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the 2018 World Cup.
The Newcastle captain even finished as the club’s third top scorer in the Premier League this season, netting three goals in the process.
Not only that, but only defensive partner Florian Lejeune (7.05) garnered a higher WhoScored rating for Newcastle in the league than Lascelles (7.04).
FLOP - ISLAM SLIMANI
Islam Slimani will surely go down as one of the worst January loan signings in Premier League history.
The Algeria international signed from Leicester at the start of the year as Benitez desperately looked for a striker that could fire Newcastle to safety.
Slimani joined Newcastle at a time when the Magpies were only one point above the bottom three.
Newcastle were prepared to gamble on Slimani even though he was injured and unable to make his debut for two months.
Not only that, but when Slimani was finally available for selection, he was ineligible to play against parent club Leicester and hit with a three-match suspension shortly after.
All in all, Slimani returns to Leicester having played 131 minutes of Premier League action for Newcastle.
Grade - B