Pointedly left as an unused substitute at Porto, Dwight Gayle was back in the starting line-up at Braga’s quirky Estadio Municipal.
Both decisions were a reflection of where his proposed transfer to West Bromwich Albion is going – or not.
At the Estadio do Dragao, Benitez was worried about jeopardising a potential move, as Gayle was being lined up as part of the offering to take Salomon Rondon to St James’ Park.
Now, with the Londoner apparently digging his heels in, Benitez is making contingencies in case he ends up staying. Gayle will need the match-fitness if that is the case.
The manager confirmed at full-time he does not expect any further departures in the transfer window – not even Isaac Hayden, who has been unsettled by his family situation but was also in Wednesday’s starting line-up.
The picture can change very quickly in the transfer window, but that is where we are.
Gayle got 70 minutes under his belt before making way, but had very little opportunity to show what he could do.
His frustration boiled over in a late challenge on Matheus which got him a long talking-to from the referee before his substitution.