Rafa Benitez wanted at least five new players to be brought in by Monday.
The United boss expected to add at least the five, on top of Christian Atsu’s loan conversion into permanent deal, in time for pre-season training which starts in four days time (Monday 3 July).
That is the claim from the Chronicle in a report today.
They claim that their information is that Benitez had set this target of transfer activity, at a point which comes over eight weeks after the Championship season ended and less than six weeks before the Premier League season kicks off.
However, with the way things stand, the report concludes that supporters will be ‘happy’ now just to have the seemingly never ending Florian Lejeune deal concluded.
When pre-season training started a year ago, Rafa Benitez had made three first team signings and spent just under £30m, with Dwight Gayle, Matz Sels and Matt Ritchie all in from the start.
Within a week of pre-season beginning, both Jesus Gamez and Isaac Hayden had already been added.
The first friendly last summer was against Bohemians and all five new signings played in that game.
Looking at this summer’s schedule, Newcastle first play Hearts in 15 days time and that must surely be the target now for Rafa Benitez, to have signings in place who can take part in that match and the other five scheduled friendlies that follow.
These are the dates when the 12 signings arrived in summer 2016:
29 June – Matz Sels
1 July – Dwight Gayle
1 July – Matt Ritchie
8 July – Jesus Gamez
11 July – Isaac Hayden
21 July – Grant Hanley
2 August – Ciaran Clark
2 August – Mohamed Diame
23 August – DeAndre Yedlin
27 August – Achraf Lazaar
27 August – Daryl Murphy
30 August – Christian Atsu
The Chronicle – 29 June 2017:
‘Rafa Benitez actually wanted to sign at least five new players before the first day of pre-season training, but the market has been excruciatingly difficult so far.
As it stands Newcastle fans will be happy if Florian Lejeune is through the door on Monday after a snail-paced deal with Eibar edges to completion.’
Whether the Chronicle’s information is correct or not, Rafa will surely have expected to have at least some new signings in place by now.
Sadly, you can’t see the transfer market getting any less ‘excruciatingly difficult’, so it looks as though it is likely down to NUFC to change their approach and be more flexible in terms of what they can do to land new signings.