Rafa Benitez enjoyed a largely successful spell in charge of Newcastle as he won the Championship title and established the club in the Premier League following their relegation in 2016.
The Spanish coach led the Magpies to 13th and 10th place finishes in the top-flight before leaving in the summer of 2020, with Steve Bruce coming in to replace him.
Whilst the ex-Liverpool boss did a host of things right at St. James’ Park, he was not without his faults and one player he had a howler with was central defender Lubomir Satka.
He came through the academy set-up at St. James’ Park and made one appearance for the first-team before Benitez allowed him to join Dunajska Streda on a free transfer in 2017.
Transfermarkt valued the Slovakia international at £225k at the time of the move as the Magpies opted against extending his contract at the time. He settled in quickly at his new club and found himself signing for Polish giants Lech Poznan in 2019 with his value soared to £585k.
In the Ekstraklasa for Poznan this season, he has averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 6.96 – making 2.8 tackles and interceptions and 3.0 clearances per game. This shows that he has been consistently putting in quality displays for his club, whilst he has also been in fine form for his country.
Slovakia national coach Stefan Tarkovic dubbed Satka’s defending, along with that of his centre-back teammates, against Robert Lewandowski as “beautiful” – showing that the £2k-per-week tank has also caught the eye at international level.
In the European Championships for his country last summer, Satka averaged 3.0 tackles and interceptions and 4.3 clearances per game as he faced Sweden, Spain and Poland. He also completed an impressive 92% of his passes as he showcased his ability in possession as well as his defensive strength.
At the time of writing (20/03/22), Transfermarkt value Satka at £2.7m. This is a whopping 1100% increase on his value at the time of his exit from Newcastle and suggests that Benitez had a howler by allowing him to leave for nothing.
Whilst he may not have made the grade at Premier League level for the Magpies, his soaring value indicates that the club would have been able to make a decent amount of money from his sale had they kept him longer than they did.
They could have sent him out on loan before selling him for closer to the £2.7m he is now valued at, which may have then been used to fund additional transfers. Instead, they lost him for nothing…