The signing that all Newcastle fans wanted to see. Confirmation arrived today that Kenedy will spend next season back in the North-East.
It may not be the permanent deal that many craved, but it is a positive step for the season ahead.
While Kenedy only recorded two goals and two assists from his 13 appearances, he injected much more into the team.
His confidence, explosive pace, and eagerness to make things happen helped transform the team’s fortunes after a dismal Christmas run.
This deal is the third piece of business conducted by the Magpies this window. The free signing of Ki Sung-yueng and a reported £4.5m fee to secure Martin Dúbravka is a marked improvement on Newcastle’s stilted approach to recent transfer windows.
With only 28 days to bring in new signings, there’s much work still to be done by Rafael Benitez and his back-room staff.
A need for improvement
"If you don't move forward, you begin to move backward."
Mikhail Gorbachev may not have been talking about football but his words ring true in terms of summer transfer policies.
With less than £5m spent and only a free signing added to the team which beat Chelsea 3-0 in June, Newcastle still have plenty of metaphorical space ahead of them to move into.
A new striker remains at the top of Benitez’s shopping list, but new wing-backs and a creative midfielder to play in the number ten role, would not go amiss either.
Laying the foundations
All of Newcastle’s pre-season transfer activity does, however, suggest one thing. Rafael Benitez will indeed be in charge of the club throughout the upcoming season.
Speculation of unease between manager and club has failed to dissipate since his arrival. This despite his continual affirmations of his happiness and commitment to the club.
The return to Tyneside of his two successful January loans moves to maintain stability in a squad which performed above expectation last season.
With several top clubs reported to be interested in club captain Jamaal Lascelles, securing the signatures of two of his best performers goes a long way to building for the future.
Buy to sell
With a figure of between £30-£40m being mooted as available in the transfer kitty, there also seems to be plenty of room for further improvements.
This amount could potentially increase due to money being brought into the club through player sales, however, Newcastle’s finances are further complicated by their current wage bill.
Aleksandar Mitrović’s imminent departure will help to ease this situation but the club still have several big earners on the periphery of their squad.
Matz Sels, Chancel Mbemba, Jack Colback and Henri Saivet all command substantial salaries and all are unlikely to be involved with Newcastle’s first team if they do not move away this summer.
Newcastle’s house of cards
With Mike Ashley intent on operating a tightly ran ship regarding their finances, Benitez finds himself in a catch-22 situation.
Players like Matt Ritchie are being linked with moves elsewhere, however, Benitez can not sell them without having a replacement to fill the void it will leave.
Likewise, he can’t bring a player in without significantly increasing the wage bill and potentially hamstringing the club further.
To truly move the club forward, Newcastle needs to maintain a streamlined discipline with their finances and improving the quality in their dressing room.
This is a tough balancing act to perform, especially when targets are slipping through their fingers due to reported low-ball bids being made by the club.
Months of bargaining last summer saw the arrival of Florian Lejeune on Tyneside for £8.7m, the fee they were originally quoted when they first made enquiries. This summer, Alassane Plea was reportedly chased with similar tactics and the forward now looks certain to move to Mönchengladbach.
The most important signing
While Benitez appears set to steer the Magpies through the forthcoming season, he looks increasingly likely to do so in the final year of his contract.
He has talked about wanting to sign for five or even ten more years with the club but is adamant that the conditions must be correct with the club for him to do so.
Kenedy committing himself to the black and white shirt for the coming season will rightly be met with great joy and excitement on Tyneside.
A striker who can provide some much-needed presence at the top of the pitch would also be a cause for celebration and optimism.
If Newcastle could find a way to add Benitez’s signature to this list, it could prove to be the most fruitful summer on Tyneside in many a year.
What do you make of Newcastle's business so far? Let us know in the comments below.