Despite proving a hugely popular figure during Boro’s promotion from the second tier last term, the 27-year-old has lost his starting spot under Aitor Karanka to the likes of Ben Gibson and Calum Chambers.
Benitez worked with the defender at Liverpool and was thought to have been on luring him to St. James’ Park before the season kicked off.
Since, he has largely relied on the likes of Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles as his first choice central defensive pairing.
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