Newcastle United goalkeeper Matz Sels wants to leave the club on loan after failing to nail down a regular starting spot with the Championship leaders. The former Belgium youth international has not played a league game since September's draw with Aston Villa and has failed to be named among the substitutes in the last three matches.
Sels joined from Gent in the summer transfer window and had an encouraging start to his career at St James' Park as he started the club's first nine games in the second tier, keeping four clean sheets in the process. But an error against Villa saw him dropped from the team amid scathing criticism from the club's supporters.
The return from injury of Rob Elliot, who is the current deputy for number one Karl Darlow, has seen Sels drop out of contention completely to leave his future at Newcastle uncertain less than 12 months into his career in the north east.
The 24-year-old is therefore considering his options and will seek a loan move to a domestic rival this summer if his opportunities do not improve.
"I have not been able to build up the credit here that I had at Gent," Sels told Het Nieuwsblad, according to The Chronicle. "If the situation stays the same, I will talk to Newcastle in the summer about a solution. Never say 'never', but a return to Belgium certainly not next season."
The news represents what could be Newcastle's first business in the summer, a window which will be hugely dictated by their success in earning promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The Toon however failed to make a single signing during January and though they have occupied an automatic promotion place for much of the campaign Benitez expressed his concern over the lack of signings.
"My decision was very clear, [but] it was not my decision," the Spaniard told Sky Sports. "I said what I wanted and needed, and what the team needed, and that was it. I can't change things now. We knew what we needed and we knew what we have. I'm disappointed (not to have signed anyone) but I have to concentrate on the players we have."