Rafa Benitez has been looking forward to the January transfer window which opens in a week’s time.
Whilst three games in a week is his immediate concern, the United boss has revealed that he has already been speaking to other clubs and player representatives.
The problem is one of ‘balance’ for Rafa Benitez, as it is for pretty much every other manager, finding the right player at the right price who is better than what you have already got.
With Newcastle top of the table and also having one eye on needing to be ready for the Premier League, when looking at any potential signings, Rafa says it is a lot more difficult for him than other Championship bosses. They just need to find players who can move them up the table, whereas Newcastle need those players who are not only better than the ones that have got Newcastle to the top of the table, but must also be ‘Premier League level’.
Recently we asked fans which positions ideally would be strengthened in January and the results of that appear to match the manager’s thinking.
Rafa Benitez says ‘maybe we need a midfielder, maybe we need a winger’ and central midfield & left wing were two of the positions supporters identified the most.
Rafa says he won’t be held to ransom and pay £20m for a player who is no better than what Newcastle already have.
However, we all know that this is a challenge that will have to be tackled sometime, whether in January and/or the summer if Newcastle return to the Premier League. Clubs such as Crystal, Palace, Everton and others are now spending £30m on players and undoubtedly Newcastle will need extra quality if they are to make a smooth transition.
“What you need is balance and maybe we need a midfielder, maybe we need a winger – but we have players in every position, a couple of them.
“If we can find some good Premier League players, or Ligue 1 or in Spain, at the right age and price, and they can play in the Championship then great – but not too many who want to come and take the risk – they’d rather wait and say ‘maybe next year’ (when back in the Premier League).
“Do you need to pay twenty million for a player when you’re top of the table with a good squad and doing well? Maybe not.
“If we cannot (sign the right players) we will go with what we have got – you see other teams in the Championship signing players but it is easier for them as it is just to improve their position.
“For us, we need to sign players at Premier League level or players in the Championship market who are better that what we have – that is not easy.
“You look in the Championship and try to see players that are maybe better than your players – there are not too many. Why do we have to go and pay twenty million for a player who is not better than my players?
“You then go to the Premier League and other leagues where they earn more money and they say why do I have to go to the Championship?
“You have to be realistic and try to find the piece you need to balance your team.
“It’s obviously easier to sell the club (to players) now, we are in a good position and doing well so you can then talk about a project and the future and it’s fine.
“It still then depends on the person – I have some conversations with agents and players about moves but prices are so high because everyone thinks you will pay twenty million and they want this and that.
“It would make no sense to bring in a player not much better than the player you already have, on double the salaries – it would create resentment.”