Rafa Benitez may not have spoken about the transfer window this summer but his ongoing presence at the club reassure supporters that this is not the time to panic just yet.

The United boss chose not to speak when Florian Lejeune met the assembled media for the first time on Thursday.

Fans obviously interested to hear what Rafa will have to say when he allows himself to be questioned about the transfer window and season preparations, whenever that may be.

Possibly ahead of, or in the aftermath of, Friday’s friendly at Hearts?

At the weekend there were claims in the local media that Rafa Benitez was holding off speaking to the media, until he had more signings through the door and something more of substance to talk about.

Fair to say that supporters are divided to varying degrees as to whether the necessary signings will still be made in the near future.

It was always likely to be a tough transfer window to negotiate, considering the amount of money the other 19 Premier League clubs have to spend, plus Newcastle’s status as a newly promoted club.

However, once again it was hoped that the presence of our Spanish manager would help to convince players that Newcastle are a club once again moving in the right direction.

There is though one hope that hasn’t materialised…

Newcastle fans did generally hope that Rafa Benitez would have signings lined up to enable the squad to hit the ground running. Players identified by the manager well  ahead of the transfer window opening and then the deals formally go through and the new signings ready to join in with pre-season training from the start.

The hope/expectation being that Rafa would have been able to get the jump on other clubs and whilst unrealistic to think Premier League quality players could be brought in at a pittance, certainly there was belief that he may have players lined up who would be very good value for money and possibly not obvious signings to others.

Last season we saw Rafa Benitez make three key signings by 1 July 2016, bringing in a new first choice keeper in Matz Sels, a new number nine in the shape of Dwight Gayle, plus the goals and creativity of Matt Ritchie.

Sels was certainly a surprise move and landing a goalkeeper who was in the Belgian national squad and who had won the domestic league and played Champions League football in the previous two seasons – it was a bit of a potential coup that he had agreed to come to the English second tier.

Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie were in no way unknown quantities but on the other hand it was a surprise/shock that both were willing to drop from Premier League clubs to the Championship. Significant spending of almost £30m on the trio certainly reassured Newcastle fans that there was intent from Rafa and the club to try and bounce straight back.

However, hopes have surely faded now that Rafa Benitez had any similar key signings lined up well in advance of July, or alternatively he did have players in mind but they wouldn’t come, or Newcastle wouldn’t pay the transfer fees and wages.

Bottom line is that the low key permanent deal for Christian Atsu went through in May without seemingly any interest from elsewhere, whilst Florian Lejeune’s signing took some six weeks as Newcastle tried to get a better deal, meaning of course that at any time another club could have come in and potentially made a more attractive offer.

So secret early Rafa signings aren’t going to be the key to any success this coming season. It would make no sense now for any delay in announcing signings, as pre-season training is well underway and the first friendly is this Friday.

Instead, any transfer activity now will simply see Newcastle United competing with every other club for what will be a common pool of players, having to offer at least the same transfer fee and wages as other clubs do, if the Magpies are to land any targets.

With no hidden advantage, can Newcastle make the necessary signings and will Mike Ashley be prepared to offer the levels of money needed to get the right players in, as identified by Rafa Benitez?

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

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I tend to think he`s avoiding the media because he`s on a short fuse at the moment & wants to keep it to himself.
    by reputation he’s a cool methodical guy but I honestly thing he will walk if there isn’t a vast improvement in players coming in

    • brin mcardle

      i really think he will leave…we are actually weakening the side(or saving wages)..not buying and loaning out a variety of youngsters..If we arent buying at least give the youngsters a try..this is just getting worse

  • jack

    Every transfer window since Ashley has owned club has been tough , this one’s no different , he just doesn’t like to spend money and doesn’t care where in the table Newcastle finish , as long as they’re not relegated , which has happened twice index his tenure , he soon spends money then because of losing out on sky money , he has the perfect opportunity to attain success now , a good manager , but he still doesn’t seem to want to push the boat out , when benitez decided to stay there was a good feeling with supporters about progress in the future , Ashley I think is up to his old tricks again , any time we look to be heading for a little succes he won’t put his hand in his pocket , like when we finished fifth , and the only signing being Anita , and I too think Benetiz is not speaking because he’s on a short fuse about lack of signings

  • TheFatController

    Well, that’s one way of looking at the transfer window, that things can be done early.

    Suppose Rafa has decided loans will get us better players for this first year in PL? Say he has earmarked a loan deal for, say, Batshuayi? When would he arrive? Before Costa/Morata etc gets sorted? Or after? I’d suggest Chelsea would say ‘after’, obviously.

    Some signings will come early, some later. Trying to second guess what is happening is speculating with little info. Why bother? Maybe Rafa sat there frustrated by Benteke going to Man Utd not Chelsea?

    This daily ‘no transfers means disaster’ catastrophising on here is bizarre. Only Everton have got players in, and the have Benteke and tv money and a wealthy investor. So it’s all disaster for every other club based on the ‘logic of catastrophe’ we are saying used every day…?

    • HenrySlade


      • TheFatController

        Sorry Lukaku, need caffeine, had name block and thought ‘Belgian striker’…

  • Carlo Ancelotti

    how`s the Rafalution going, not well i presume

    • Mayor Vaughn

      Got no complaints so far.

      • Leazes Ender

        Dum-dum, Dum-dum, Dum-dum, Dum-dum, Dum-dum,

        My attempt at the Jaws theme

        • Mayor Vaughn

          Your gonna need a bigger boat

          • Tony Mann

            Tuxedo Princess any good?

  • Mayor Vaughn

    All this whinging is starting to get tiresome.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Norwich have just said Murphy is not for sale

    • Holding out for 15Mln I think. Plenty of better players in Germany, Spain and Italy for less. Even youngsters from top clubs reserve sides could be better.
      We are inquiring about plenty of players, but most clubs are still holding out for bigger bids. Come August everyone will be willing to sell.

  • mactoon

    I’m concerned because I just do not see Ashley sanctioning any bid over £10 million. Rafa may have a transfer fund but I fear Charnley has been given instructions to get the best deals which will result in no signings due to not paying the selling club’s valuations. It won’t work, never has, and they can’t see it.

  • mactoon

    Of the four latest alleged attempts of signing players:

    Jacob Murphy
    ‘£8 million bid lodged’ rejected as not interested in selling him
    Adama Traore
    Boro’s valuation has put an end to the interest
    Jesus Navas
    A non starter as he is ‘set for a return to Spain’
    Sheyi Ojo
    Liverpool’s excessive demands put an end to the deal

    How come other clubs seem to have no problem signing a player once they identify them? No surprise if Rafa is frustrated at the club’s inability to sign players. If he leaves we are right in it

    Answers on a postcard to Ashley

  • wheyayeman

    Hate all the moaning but I can’t help but say Rafa is the best thing to happen to our club in a decade and more BUT I can’t help thinking we are moving back to the Keegan scenario. Ashley you t*@t wake up man! Rafa can walk into most of the European top clubs where he will have his wages matched or bettered and handed a blank cheque book to challenge for the top honours or he can stay here trying to do his best, trying and failing to work out why he can’t complete deals for players he probably isn’t even keen on signing. Rafa deserves much better and frankly he can get much better with a click of his fingers. It looks like Fat Mike just cannot or will not learn his lesson – if/when Rafa does walk there isnt the faintest hope of an Ashley future with a decent manager again.

  • Down Under Mag

    I still think we will see a number of new signings in the coming month. I am still hopefull of a flurry like we saw last summer, just before or as the season is about to start…be that because of Ashley refusing to sanction wages while they aren’t playing or just the need to wait to offload players on loan or even Rafa wanting to give some failed players a final chance to impress and narrow down the required positions more. We have to be realistic in that Rafa doesn’t have the money to spend some fans expect and we aren’t going to be heading out and blowing 60-100m on new signings any time soon. Frustrating yes, I can’t think of where we are going to end up if Rafa does leave…