But Liverpool, after submitting a £1.7m bid to the Chamionship club, secured his signature. And, according to reports at the time, Benitez was instrumental in convincing Shelvey to sign for the Merseyside club.
This is what he had to say following the signing:
“We are trying to bring in British players with passion,” said Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.
“Players who you can feel what playing for Liverpool means to them. Shelvey is one of these and we have two or three names ready so we will try to do the best for the club.
“I was trying to sign Gareth Barry before and Glen Johnson was the same idea – we have this long-term plan in place and we will try to follow the plan.”
Of course, considering Benitez was sacked just days later, he never got the chance to develop the player as he wished. But, if the reports are to be believed, and he is to sign a deal in the coming 24 hours, he will now get that chance at Newcastle.
Shelvey has been the bright spark in what has been a torried season so far for Newcastle and he has been somewhat of a revelation since signing in January. The arrival of Benitez is sure to inspire faith in the Newcastle captain, and I sincerely look forward to seeing how he develops under his tutorship.