Rafa Benitez set up a loan deal to bring Tammy Abraham to Newcastle United early in the summer, even on his (Rafa’s) wedding anniversary he chose to go and see the Chelsea forward in person to persuade him to come to St Jame Park for the season.

Having done everything but write the cheque, Rafa Benitez left the paperwork to be done, only for Mike Ashley to block the deal.

Friday saw Mike Ashley choose to put out quotes saying Newcastle/Ashley haven’t got the money to pay £200m for a Neymar.

A bit like asking your dad for a new bike and being told how can you expect him to afford to get you a Ferrari?

Ashley’s quotes were timed almost immediately after Rafa Benitez couldn’t have spelt it out more clearly: ‘It…is…obvious…that…we…need…a…striker’.

The bottom line is that Newcastle can’t afford a Neymar but they can afford an Abraham…and many more deals in between.

Rafa Benitez makes clear that he rates Dwight Gayle after his 23 Championship goals last season but quite rightly has two big worries.

The United boss saying yesterday ‘we have to see if he can replicate something similar in the Premier League’.

This also follows yet another recurring hamstring issue for the striker who has been plagued by them and ‘confidence’ issues in recent years, which restricted him to only 26 starts last season, including only five of the final 20 Championship matches.

Gayle missed the final two friendlies of pre-season due to these hamstring/confidence problems and only played 30 minutes of the third last one. He should be in the squad for Spurs but there is surely no chance of him starting you would think.

Rafa Benitez yesterday made clear he is desperate to bring in players, particularly a striker, who ‘will improve the team’. He is aiming for clearly somebody who is better than Gayle or at least on that level, surely a forward who he will see as capable of playing alongside Dwight Gayle as well as instead of if necessary.

The manager then even admits though, that he is realistic, and even if this proves impossible he needs at the very least a striker (and players for other positions) who improve the squad.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Rafa is desperate to bring in a striker who is at least better than Mitrovic, the Serbian who only started one of the final seven games that decided Newcastle’s 2015/16 relegation and then a sparse 11 Championship matches last season.

Rafa Benitez is bending over backwards to show that he isn’t expecting the earth, just minimal backing to try and help ensure this season isn’t a total disaster.

Rafa Benitez:

“If you see the squad, it is obvious that we need a striker.

“We needed to bring some players in some positions to have competition.

“Dwight was doing really well last year but it is another level and we have to see if he can replicate something similar in the Premier League – we need competition in each position.

“Not just because they will be better, but we need bodies, you have to be sure that you have enough quality to keep the level.

“I said before and I am not hiding anything, I’m not happy…but I know we are in this position and we will try to improve until the end of the transfer window, with the players that we can get.

“If we can bring in a more expensive player, we will do it. If we cannot, (then we’ll get) another one and make sure they can give us something different.

“Hopefully they will improve the team – but at least they will improve the squad.”



  • Steve Pearce

    It is obvious to everybody apart from that unmentionable pile of droppings who unfortunately owns our club. He is a dimwitted, disrespectful, unintelligent, beer swilling conceited excuse for a human being who is making the mistake of all despots before him that their time in the sun shall be eternal.

    You are writing your own regime’s death warrant Mr Ashley….

  • Kneebotherm8

    Poor Rafa,he’ll be sad to leave the club for the fans sake,but with the backing of this owner its inevitable.
    World class manager,World class fans, classless owner.

  • Wor Lass

    Jackie, do you KNOW that the Abraham deal fell through because Jabba blocked it or are you assuming that to be the case. I`m no apologist for the man but I do prefer to deal in facts if at all possible. Your headline is, “Rafa Benitez makes clear wants striker better than Gayle but minimum is better than Mitrovic”. You don`t actually address either of these two claims in the article – did he say this somewhere else in his interview (I haven`t read it)? It seems to me that, for once, Ashley may be telling the truth as Rafa is really saying the same thing. If he had been lied to then I think he would have gone and launched a constructive dismissal case.

    • Soldier

      Ashley telling the truth not much chance of that is there

      • Geordiegiants

        Not any chance.

    • Cuh736

      Rafa said we need A new striker. For competition and to boost the quality we have. All true, as last season we had three, and we only have two right now. How this spiralled into a mitrovic jab, I don’t know.

      There is absolutely no evidence that Mike Ashley blocked Tammy Abraham’s move. It was a loan, so no question of no release of transfer funds. Also, Tammy made it clear he preferred the swans, and it seemed to make sense (being closer to London or so?)

      • Rich Lawson

        Think your right, media said family reasons,and to be fair he already new Clement from Chelsea

    • 1957

      Did you not realise Jackie, Graham Porter and the rest of the staff writers, have a direct line into Benitez mind.

      I have no problem with the OPINION pieces on the Mag making unsubstantiated claims but the staff writers work is always with the heading of NEWS…

    • Mumbles

      This is getting ridiculous now. As if anyone has to make stuff up to make Ashley look bad!

      As mentioned by 1957, knock yourself out in an opinion piece, but when you present lies as news then you have crossed a line.

      Please don’t force me to move on to find my toon related gossip.

  • TheFatController

    I think the mistake Ashley made in his interview is his exaggerating for effect

    Had he simply stated facts and not exaggerations or the most extreme examples he’d had sounded more credible

    His point wasn’t just that we cant do £200m deals or get £40m naming rights fees, it was that there just isn’t the cash from tv there yet and he can’t just pay in like PSG, Abramovich, Mamsour do.

    He’s taken a hammer to a situation where finesse was required, but he’s just pointed out that whilst Rafa can spend all the cash generated, and he decides not Charnley and certainly not him, there isn’t the cash people think, so inflated fees, wages and agent payments are being rejected to make sure the money they do have is maximised

    Why he couldn’t just say that staggers me – instead he starts saying ‘off the cuff’ scenarios that,as you rightly say, no-one expects to apply to us.

    • Jimblag23

      Exactly he’s made it too easy for us to say “we don’t expect to compete with City, but we do with Watford and Bournemouth”
      Idiot! 🤤

      • Jezza

        It beggars belief. He’s ducking the issue by banging on about us not being able to compete financially with the Man City’s and Chelseas. Nobody expects that. The problem is that Ashley won’t even allow us to compete financially with Championship clubs on half our crowds.

        • Rich Lawson

          Or apparently Watford,Brighton and Huddersfield ! We probably get a bigger home crowd in the prem’ than all 3 of them put together ?

      • Geordiegiants

        It’s all propaganda, questions made clear before the interview. How have we never been able to compete, what’s the excuse for the last ten years? It’s half truth this season, but for the last ten years he has said we can’t compete with even Stoke and the likes.

  • ash1001

    Think Its time we stopped all the Ashley bashing, what good is it doing – none at all, in my opinion, ten years proves it. English football (Premier League) is far to big for its boots now, PSG for example should be renamed Qater FC, Chelsea Loanemout FC (26 players out on loan and counting), Emirates Airline (Arsenal, Ajax PSG, AC Milan + others) United Arab Emirates FC.

    Are FIFA or EUFA doing anything about it, what happended to the FFP (Financial Fair Play) Rules, no they are doing nothing, so clubs like NUFC loose out.

    Where NUFC would be now if Ashley had not taken over, no one can say, only that no one has come in to try and buy the club off him, least that is the way it appears.

    Mind you one could ask what the new Shirt sponsors have brought to the football club as that figure seems to be well hidden. So YES there are questions that could be asked of the club, but groups like the Fans Forum will never get the answers they want regardless of whether they would agree with the answer or not (thats from experience) of the forum.

    Footnote Man Utd (Glaziers sell 2% of their shares for 56 million, thats the game we are in with some clubs), so please lets just support what we have and be grateful for it, Season Tickets for example half the price of Arsenals.

    • Geordiegiants

      What are you talking about????????

      • Wor Lass

        Good question!

      • Damon Horner

        His name’s ash1001. Mike ash-ley and I assume followed by his weight in stone.

    • Jimblag23

      This kind of rhetoric is like being in an abusive relationship but thinking at least a roof above my head is provided.

      (Maybe I’m being a tad dramatic, but you get my drift)

  • Mxpx

    Why do we want Lucas Perez if we’re looking for someone better than mitrovic and Gayle then ? I’d be inclined to go after Kasper dolberg I think he could be landed for less than Perez and would be a superior player

    • Geordiegiants

      Because just about any striker we have been linked with is better than Donkovitic.

  • Geordiegiants

    It isn’t going to be difficult to get a better striker than Mitro, in fact we have just got rid of one, what were we playing at? Rafa has tried to second guess Jabba, and thought if he got rid of Murphy the parasite would of given him money, as he couldn’t go into the season without a new striker.
    How wrong he was!

    • Jezza

      I think selling Murphy was a mistake simply because the club are not going to sign anybody better. To be truthfull I don’t think they will sign any striker at all.

      • Geordiegiants

        They probably won’t.

  • Jimblag23

    Ashley SIGN PEREZ or lose money when we’re relegated. It’s not hard.