Vurnon Anita released as Newcastle United announce retained list

Vurnon Anita will leave Newcastle United when the Dutchman's deal expires this summer while Yoan Gouffran could still have a future on Tyneside. 

The makeshift right-back will leave the Magpies after spending five years on Tyneside. Sammy Ameobi, Lubo Satka and Haris Vuckic also head to the exit door. 

To the surprise of some supporter, Gouffran could extend his stay at St James' Park with Rafael Benitez confirming the club remained in discussions with the Frenchman. 

Florian Thauvin will not be returning to Newcastle following a successful loan spell at in France with Marseille. 

"Difficult decision"

In a statement released on website, Benitez said: "I wish to give sincere thanks to all those players from the first team and at under-23 level who we have made the difficult decision to release this summer."

The 57-year-old Spaniard praised Anita for his contribution to the Magpies, having stayed to help the Toon Army get back into the Premier League. Benitez said Anita has served the club "magnificently over the last five years". 

Anita, who was initially signed as the central midfield player from Ajax in 2012, had taken up a makeshift right-back role for the Magpies, more often throughout the 2016-17 season, and Benitez said how he recognised the 28-year-old's commitment to the cause. 

"Vurnon is an outstanding team player, always working for the team and willing to step into whatever position he was needed to fill. He is an excellent professional and I thank him for every contribution he has made over the years, particularly in my time as manager," he said. 

Prolonging his stay?

(Photo: GettyImages/ Serena Taylor)
Will this man remain a Newcastle player? (Photo: GettyImages/ Serena Taylor)

Many expected that Gouffran would depart United last summer, not only this summer. When Newcastle were relegated in 2016, Gouffran only made just eight league appearances. It was widely rumoured that the 31-year-old would move back to France last summer.

However, Benitez kept the player, where he played regular part last season - making 45 appearances for Newcastle in all competitions. But despite his frequent part, the Newcastle faithful have still sometimes questioned his performances.  

Nevertheless, fans' trust remains with Benitez, and the Toon boss called Gouffran "an equally committed and dedicated team-player for this club, as well as a hugely popular member of the squad."

Benitez added an update on the Frenchman's potentially contract renewal: "I can confirm we are in early stage discussions now with Yoan’s agent to see if there might be a solution that could work for both the player and the club which may see Yoan extend his service to Newcastle United, but we will know more in the coming days.

Ameobi and the others

Benitez also thanked Ameobi for his contribution after the 25-year-old had his season-long loan spell at Bolton Wanderers cut short in January. "He was always so positive and did everything he could to help the team achieve success."

U23 players Jamie Holmes, Stefan Broccoli and Ben Smith will also depart. Benitez added: "To all those players released by the club today, we wish to thank you for your loyalty and commitment and wish you the very best for your future in football. I say to them all, keep working hard and you will find the success that you seek and deserve."