Having had to deal in the past with the fragile egos of players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, it is little wonder that Rafa Benitez isn’t fazed when dealing with the Newcastle squad he inherited.
Andros Townsend was the one player Rafa couldn’t do anything about, in the reign of Steve McClaren, Newcastle had allowed the winger to insist on a contract clause which allowed him to walk/run away after relegation.
However, with the rest of his squad, Rafa Benitez made clear early on this summer that nobody else would be allowed to leave unless it is in the best interests of Newcastle United.
Commenting on the situation once again with the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko, Rafa has been keen to take both a carrot and stick approach.
On the one hand he says that he understands the pair have needed ‘some time to analyse the situation and understand where they are’ but that they also ‘need to take their responsibility too’.
If either Sissoko or Wijnaldum had produced that little bit more in a few matches last season, none of us would be in this situation.
Elsewhere there are media claims that Newcastle will consider offers, but the starting price for bids is £20m minimum for both players, and with the way the transfer market has already gone with £30m+ deals for Batshuayi, Mane and Xhaka, to many outsiders that £20m minimum will look on the mark for international players already having shown an ability to produce in the Premier League.
Which is what it will of course come down to in the end, will somebody offer enough money where Rafa Benitez considers it will then allow him to improve the squad overall?
If Newcastle bank £20m for either player then I am sure that we will see a stronger United squad as a result.
The status quo is that the pair will both be Newcastle players next season, it is now up to the players and their representatives as to just how much they want to make a move happen – but in the knowledge that it will have to be on Rafa Benietz’ terms.
“To go from the Premier League to the Championship is not easy for anyone…
“I understand that they (Sissoko and Wijnaldum) need some time to analyse the situation and understand where they are – but they need to take their responsibility too – try to do their best to change the situation.
“In this case it would be to do well, to get us promoted back to the Premier League, and everyone will be happy.”