With less than 48 hours until the latest transfer window circus closes, the outlook from Rafa Benitez sounds less than hopeful,

As it stands, the only positive appears likely to be that Cheick Tiote will no longer be picking up money for nothing.

The United boss saying that there are clubs interested in taking the midfielder and Newcastle are just waiting for the ‘final solution’.

As for the swap loan deal involving Andros Townsend and Chancel Mbemba that became an apparent possibility at the weekend, Rafa Benitez says that there hasn’t been ‘any progress’  and has no ‘news one way or the other’. Which if you are a glass half full person, you can take to mean that at least the chance of Townsend coming back to St James Park isn’t a total write off.

The Newcastle Manager reiterated that he does have targets that he is pursuing but he isn’t confident of anybody coming in before Tuesday’s deadline.

Interesting that despite having Jesus Gamez and Aleksandar Mitrovic now back from injury and Chancel Mbemba & Mohamed Diame travelling back from Gabon (Christian Atsu and Ghana play their semi-final on Thursday), Benitez insists that he is still looking to add balance & experience to his squad, with the Oxford defeat being a game to ‘show you exactly what you need’.

A month ago most fans would have been very surprised to see nobody new arrive this month, especially with the summer transfer cash surplus and an expectation that Rafa would be very keen to have extra options and insurance going into this promotion run-in.

The club did force through five transfers in January 2013 and then four in January 2016 when fighting relegation both times, so little wonder some fans are questioning why the club isn’t going the extra mile to try and ensure this essential return to the top tier.

Rafa Benitez:

“There has not been any progress (on Mbemba loan swap deal with Townsend).

“At the moment, I do not have news one way or the other.

“We have our targets but we don’t know if we can get them.

“As I said before, balance is the key and in a team, you need experience and you need young players along with that.

“You have to have a good mix and if you have problems, it is normally the experienced players that can make a difference.

“These kind of games show you exactly what you need.

“We have some clubs interested in him (Cheick Tiote) and we are waiting now for the final solution to the situation.”