KENEDY is delighted to be back at his “second home”, and is hoping a full pre-season with his Newcastle United team-mates enables him to be even more effective than he was last term.
Kenedy’s second spell at St James’ Park was confirmed yesterday, with the Chelsea midfielder having agreed a season-long loan deal.
Newcastle tried unsuccessfully to persuade Chelsea to include a guaranteed buyout clause in the terms of the loan arrangement, but Magpies officials still hope to complete a permanent transfer next summer.
For now, though, Kenedy remains a Chelsea player on a temporary switch to Tyneside, but the 22-year-old could not be happier to be back in the North-East.
His first spell with Newcastle started in January, and saw him score two goals in 13 games as he carved out a starting spot on the left-hand side of midfield.
“I’m so happy to come back to my second home,” said the Brazilian. “When the club showed an interest in me again and the call came, as the Brazilian expression goes, ‘O bom filho a casa torna’ – the good son will always come home.
“It’s a club I identified with quickly. Everybody here treated me so well and I feel so good. It feels like family, it feels like home, so that’s why I say it feels like my second home.
“I’m so happy with the interest from Rafa Benitez, that he came back for me. So I want to keep it going, this work that I did before, for the new season.”
Unlike last season, when he moved halfway through the campaign, Kenedy will be involved in the whole of Newcastle’s pre-season schedule this summer.
Having successfully passed a medical at the start of the week, he has flown to Newcastle’s Carlton House training base in Ireland to join up with the rest of Benitez’s squad, and should be involved in next Tuesday’s opening friendly with St Patrick’s Athletic.
“It’s better this time because I will have the time to do a pre-season,” he said. “I can work hard and, like last season, we have a good group. The guys are together and fight for the results, but now I have more time to prepare with them and I know them better.
“I expect, with my team-mates, to do a very good season. I’ll give everything on the pitch and do my best. It’s a new challenge, a new season and a new opportunity. And I’m so motivated to make it like last season.
“It’s a new season and a new challenge, and I’m focused and prepared. Now, I have the opportunity to prepare properly, from the beginning, to be ready for the big games to come. The Premier League is a big competition, and it’s a new beginning for me at the club.”
At the same time as Kenedy’s arrival was being confirmed yesterday, Mikel Merino finally completed his move to Spanish side Real Sociedad.
The La Liga club triggered a €12m buyout clause in Merino’s Newcastle contract, with the midfielder having become frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities on Tyneside.