Newcastle United have signed Matt Targett on loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season.

The Magpies were looking for a left-back throughout January, and finally got one through the door on deadline day.

Multiple names were linked. There was talk of a big money move for Lucas Digne, while Mitchel Bakker was coming, then he wasn’t, then he was, then he wasn’t.

In the end, it’s Targett who has arrived at St James’ Park. Toon boss Eddie Howe will be delighted with his arrival, but the deal might not have been possible had it not been for an ex-Newcastle manager.

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Rafa Benitez’s actions have led Matt Targett to Newcastle

In August 2017, Rafa Benitez was in charge of Newcastle United. He’d won promotion back to the Premier League, and was looking to make the necessary signings to keep us there.

On transfer deadline day, the Magpies made a bid to sign Targett on loan, only for the deal to collapse late in the day.

Almost five years on and while Benitez is no longer Toon boss, he’s played a somewhat important role in getting Targett to Tyneside.

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At the start of the month, the Spaniard was Everton manager. Among all the troubles he had at Goodison Park, he’d fallen out with star left-back Lucas Digne.

Newcastle tried and failed to sign the Frenchman, who ended up joining Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa for £25million. It was a big signing for Villa, but one that pushed Targett down the pecking order.

Since Digne joined Villa on January 13th, Targett hasn’t played a single minute of Premier League football.

Aston Villa Unveil New Signing Lucas Digne
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Had it not been for the Benitez/Digne fallout, a move to Villa probably never would have happened. And if that hadn’t happened, Villa wouldn’t be a in position to let Targett leave on loan.

The 26-year-old is a smart signing by Newcastle. He’s a solid Premier League left-back. He’s reliable and won’t take long to settle in.

But this signing might not have been possible had it not been for Toon hero Rafa Benitez.

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