The Rafa Benitez Birmingham Press Conference has taken place on Tuesday lunchtime.
A lot happening at the moment but the United boss was pressed on various aspects of the January transfer market.
The press and fans left none the wiser though about ‘control’ of transfers, with Rafa Benitez saying it was a ‘tricky question’ when asked who had the ‘final say’.
My take on it is that Rafa wouldn’t allow himself to be made a mug of like Pardew and McClaren, where signings are imposed on the Manager. However, guessing that each deal with have to be put to Mike Ashley (via, or in the shape of, Lee Charnley) for a final sign off, with the wage agreement at least as important as the transfer fee these days.
The recruitment of Diame, Gamez and Murphy surely proof that the goalposts had moved in the right direction in terms of the manager picking the signings. Rafa did confirm that despite the media stories about Mike Ashley taking a hand in the transfer policy once again, that indeed nothing had changed as far as he was concerned, in how transfers were going to be conducted.
The Newcastle Manager also confirmed that he has got a number of options in the transfer market and that ‘a couple of them could be really good’.
In the shorter-term, six players (including Rob Elliot) didn’t feature for the reserves on Monday night and Rafa has confirmed that four of the Under 23s (reserves) have been training with the first team this week, in preparation for Birmingham and potentially beyond.
First quotes from the Rafa Benitez Birmingham Press Conference:
“To have three players away and then lose three players in the same game is not good for anyone.
“We had four (players from the under 23s) training with us this week and they can play.
“We have to be sure that we do well, we play a good game and we go through.
“We had to work very hard to win a difficult game on Saturday. The work rate and the commitment of the players was so good.
(Asked if spoken to Mike Ashley) “My communication with the owner is always through Lee Charnley.
(Asked if he had final say on transfers) “That’s a tricky question.
“January is always difficult, because not many of the good players playing in top sides are available.
“I like to sign young players, to develop them and improve them and also sign the players that we need.
“People think that I like to sign older players but that is not the case, our team is below the average age in this division.
(Asked if close to signing anybody) “We have some options and a couple of them could be really good.”