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Opinion

Why you shouldn’t trust journalists with ‘inside knowledge’ on Rafa Benitez Premier League transfer budget

3 years ago
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What is the Rafa Benitez Premier League transfer budget?

Well I don’t know and you don’t know BUT plenty of journalists are happy to be stating what it is.

They talk as if they have inside knowledge on what the Newcastle boss will be given as a budget but clearly they have as much (less?) clue as we do.

The popular figure being stated by them is £70m but none of them say where they have this ‘inside knowledge’ from.

It looks like they are all guessing, or more likely repeating what one journalist plucked out of the air. If they are basing it on what the Spanish media claimed Rafa Benitez had said after promotion was secured against Preston, they certainly aren’t crediting that as their source.

As football clubs rely less and less on the media, what exclusives/inside information do any of them actually get these days?

With their own Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and official website, long gone are the days when the likes of Newcastle needed the Chronicle to tell us all that there are tickets still on sale for the next match.

The same with players happy to give journalists information in return for a few quid/drinks – when they earned hundreds of pounds a week rather than tens of thousands – you could understand it happening.

As for having no belief in the inside information (guessing…) from journalists on the Rafa Benitez Premier League transfer budget, you only need to go back 12 months to see why you should treat these latest newspaper reports with extreme scepticism.

They were all at last May but here are just two examples of what the newspapers were claiming:

The Mirror – 26 May 2016:

“He (Rafa Benitez) will get a budget of £20million to rebuild after failing in his 10-game attempt to save the Magpies after their season-long struggle under Steve McClaren.

“Some current players may also choose to leave this summer rather than play in the second tier, raising further cash.”

The Telegraph – 20 May 2016:

“The club have been in talks about opening an overdraft facility in order to give Benitez the money he wants for recruitment.

“He will also be given the funds raised by player sales, with France international Moussa Sissoko and Holland defender Daryl Janmaat expected to be the first out of the club after relegation to the Championship.”

In both of these reports above (and the rest who copied them/also claimed they had the inside track), it was stated that Rafa Benitez had been guaranteed a certain sum of money PLUS whatever he generated in player sales.

That guaranteed figure regardless of player sales, was generally stated to be £20m.

When Newcastle United released their latest accounts last month (April), they stated that Rafa Benitez had made the club a profit of £40m on transfers in summer 2016.

Yet despite this the Newcastle Manager was blocked from making any signings in January, even loan ones, and expressed his anger at this once the transfer window closed.

So counting on my fingers, I make it that the journalists last May ended up being wrong to the tune of £60m (£40m transfer surplus + promised £20m transfer budget) in terms of what Rafa Benitez would be allowed to spend.

A little tricky believing any exclusives in the coming hours, days, weeks, and months.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

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