When Rafa Benitez phones home and his wife asks if he has been busy at Newcastle United today…she may well wish she’d never asked the question.
By Thursday night, there had been 23 senior players moving, in and out of the club.
Permanent – Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Steven Taylor, Remy Cabella, Andros Townsend, Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat, Papiss Cisse, Gini Wijnaldum
Loans – Florian Thauvin, Siem De Jong, Kevin Mbabu, Henri Saivet, Tim Krul
Matz Sels, Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle, Jesus Gamez, Isaac Hayden, Grant Hanley, Ciaran Clark, Mohamed Diame, DeAndre Yedlin
Rafa Benitez has more than balanced the books so far in terms of both wages and transfer fees but getting the right players in, and out, is a fine art, around about the same level of difficulty as herding cats.
When choosing and landing the right type of player it is a real tightrope job, identifying players who are good enough for Championship promotion and potentially able to play in the Premier League, whilst at the same time knowing that those 20 clubs in the top tier have am extra £600m+ per season currently burning a hole in their pockets.
As for getting those not wanted out of the club, it is arguably an even bigger job.
Thursday evening saw one Ligue 1 club say they wanted both Yoan Gouffran and Emmanuel Riviere but that the high wages paid to unwanted players by Newcastle, made the deals so difficult to conclude.
With 14 senior players already having headed off so far this transfer window, it isn’t inconceivable that this total could reach 20 by the time September is reached. Cheick Tiote, Emmanuel Riviere, Yoan Gouffran, Adam Armstrong, Paul Dummett and of course, drum roll….Moussa Sissoko could all end up leaving as well.
Almost two full teams of players potentially leaving, how can you manage/coach with all of that going on in the background.
Whilst still intending more signings, you feel Rafa Benitez is counting down the seconds until the window slams shut next week, then he will really get to work.
The United boss has already shown his ruthless streak and once he knows the players he has at his disposal on Thursday 1 September, he will be asking each and every one of them if they are up for the challenge.
Rafa Benitez has already achieved so much in five short months on Tyneside, once he is surrounded by people who are all pushing in the same direction, the only way is up.