If two years ago anyone had mentioned Jesé Rodriguez in the same sentence as Newcastle, eyebrows would have raised with bemusement.
The young Spaniard was all not long back from a very serious knee injury that kept him out for 9 whole months. Things were very much looking up. Real Madrid fans seen him as one of their own and clung to the hopes of him breaking out into one of Europe's top stars. On this day two years ago, Jesé was named on the bench for the biggest club match in football. El Classico. Defeat saw the Galácticos all but forget about winning La Liga for yet another season.
That Summer, Carlo Ancelotti was gone and a fellow countryman of Jesé took up the reigns. The same man that would ultimately prepare one year later for a season in the Championship. Rafa Benitez.
Rafa went on record to say just how highly he rated the winger after a fine, goal-scoring display against Espanyol in October:
"Jesé is on path, playing well, working well. That is how a player, whether from the youth team or not, can play regularly for Real Madrid."
However, before that, rumours began to circulate that Benitez has a significant distaste to another side of Jesé, but it had nothing to do with his work on the pitch. More so, it was his obsession with music, which had almost become a part-time job for him. Benitez apparently worried that it was holding him back and causing him to be away from his team-mates too often. As Newcastle fans have come to know, Rafa is very pragmatic and detailed in his approach. Of course he would have issues with this type of thing.
The way he discussed the talent of the player does give off a sense of "a work in progress". It was as if Benitez really wanted to be the one to unlock the hidden potential from within the academy product.
Fast forward to now, Jesé Rodriguez is back at the place where it all started for him, literally. He is in the middle of a loan spell at Las Palmas from his new parent club, Paris-Saint Germain (who signed him last summer for £21 million). Apart from a recent two-goal display against Osasuna, he is yet to really showcase the ability we all know he possesses. He will return to Paris at the end of the season, but where does he go from there? Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Hatem Ben Arfa, Lucas Moira and Goncalo Guedes. Competition for places is fierce in the French Capital. You would think Jesé would be searching for a new club once again.
Something that would have seemed a mere fantasy 6 months ago may now seem a very exciting prospect now. I'm not saying it will happen, but simply that Newcastle United should push the boat out as far as they can to tempt the supremely talented Champions League winner to Tyneside.
Ambition- " A strong desire to do or achieve something."