I have total faith in Rafa Benitez but only if he is given the necessary tools to be fighting on a more or less level playing field.

That doesn’t mean having the same kind of financial muscle as those at the very top of the tree but certainly Newcastle need to be competing with players chased by at least half of the division.

Not knocking the signings made so far (though they do look more like squad signings, with possible/probably exception of Jacob Murphy) but until Newcastle go above their 12 year old transfer record that was paid for Michael Owen, I will find it hard to believe that Rafa Benitez has the necessary backing from Mike Ashley, whatever coded words (‘every last penny’) were used when the owner was giving the manager assurances in May.

A bit worrying then this morning to see these Rafa Benitez quotes below in the Chronicle, the article being about the manager looking to bring in more essential players, with there appearing to be an emphasis particularly on signing a quality striker.

Rafa Benitez talks about players in and out, saying ‘We are trying to change some players. We have to wait to see the right offers and then after, we will see if we can add some players’.

The inference clearly appears to be, that players need to go, before Rafa can go for who he really wants.

The newspaper talks of the likes of Riviere and Mitrovic needing to generate decent transfer fees…well clearly we’ll be lucky to give Riviere away and as for Mitrovic, you’d surely be luck to get anywhere close to £10m rather than the £16m or more that is being speculated.

This leads me to think of two potential/possible scenarios…

Firstly, if Rafa can indeed force through and deal, in or out, then if he was allowed to find a club to take on Riviere at a minimal/no fee and allowed to sell Mitrovic for say £8m, then with the savings in wages on the two players and transfer fee(s), he could potentially then use that towards landing a striker for up to say £20m.

Secondly, if Rafa has the final say on transfers in and out BUT when it comes to selling players that depends on receiving offers acceptable to Ashley/Charnley, then I foresee serious problems.

If Mitrovic can only leave if bids of around £15m/£16m are received and anything more than a minimal amount for Riviere, then realistically I can’t see how we can realistically shift these unwanted players…and more importantly, then does it make the recruitment of real quality players impossible?

The same situation is say a new Number 10 is wanted by Rafa Benitez, which is surely the case, isn’t it? If unrealistic bids for the likes of Siem de Jong, Henri Saivet, Ayoze Perez and/or Mohamed Diame need to be banked first, it also makes that necessary buy maybe impossible.

With only three weeks until the start of the season and less than six weeks until the closing of the transfer window, fans can be nothing but worried until more heavyweight signings are made. Spending money doesn’t guarantee success but not spending it does usually pretty much guarantee failure.

Rafa Benitez speaking to The Chronicle:

“We are trying to change some players.

“We have to wait to see the right offers and then after, we will see if we can add some players.

“I think we need some more players, I wouldn’t say how many, but it also depends on the market.

Mike (Ashley) convinced me he would give us the last penny of the money available.

“We are not asking for more, we are asking for the money we can use.

“We can generate some more money. Hopefully we can do that.

“The market is a little bit crazy but still we can compete in our market, if we do well. Hopefully we can do that.”

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



  • Jimblag23

    I’ve learned it’s best to not second guess this stuff.
    We could speculate until the cows come home but we’ll know for sure in a month.

    • Steven05

      Absolutely correct

  • anyobrien

    oh he best walk away then and leave……..nee good this.

  • LeroyGibbs

    Sometimes what managers say is for effect. Maybe Rafa’s words are designed to stop other clubs thinking he’s got loads of cash to splash, which just puts the price up.
    The fact we’ve signed 4 players that Rafa wanted, and the fact he hasn’t walked – tells us that he’s reasonably content with how things are going.

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    You are making It up off the top of your head …. “if” this and “probably” that … who are you to set valuations on players? …. that entire article was the worst kind of pure speculation usually reserved for taxi ranks at 1:00 in the morning with a kebab and a belly full of beer.

  • Marveauxless

    The problem is that he signed 12 players last season and the Premier League limits you to a 25 man squad. It doesn’t matter how much money you have to spend if you can’t fit the players into your squad. No chairman would pay the salary of a player that can’t play.

    • HarryHype59

      If that is the case why aren’t the priority signings like an EPL quality striker and an upgrade on Diame and Perez, being made? The Manquillo deal means a squad place is taken by a player who is no more than back up.

      The club is struggling to shift the”dross”. I don’t want to see the lack of space in the squad used as an excuse for not buying a quality striker.

  • HarryHype59

    The problem is the “Deadwood” are on long term contracts at comparatively high wages. Even if the club takes a hit on the transfer fee the wage issue prevents them being moved on. I mentioned the term “Toxic assets” a while back and that is what so many of our squad are.

    • David Wright

      The deadwood were very poor buys and that philosophy is the problem at our club,they don’t wheel and deal with due diligence,even this manquillo signing looks a very poor deal,why did we buy him instead of a proven premier league player like Hull City’s Robertson ,very disappointed so far,we look like cannon fodder again.

      • Steven Doggett

        He was always going to Liverpool so it wasn’t even an option. The deal took longer because hull wanted one of their young players

      • HarryHype59

        Agree on Manquillo, it would appear the mistakes of the past are being repeated.

  • mentalman

    Squad size is too big thats what rafa is talking about plus if we have say 20million left is he going to buy 4 5million players or 1 at 20? If he raises 20 million extra he can then sign more expensive players aswell as a few cheaper ones.

    Again the author seems to know that MA and penfold are going to undermine rafa and not sell players unless they get what they want, if rafa tells the club a player will not play another game then he will be sold for whatever is on offer

  • Andy james

    I smell a rat.

    Same old Ashley.

  • We’ve already managed to sell and get loan players we don’t need, besides Colback, Haidara and supposedly Saivet, De Jong, Mitro. We have to be able to sell/loan at least 3 of those and get 3 better players. I would definitely bid 30m for Mahrez right now, he would solve all our problems. Sell Mitro and Colback to get 10-15m and buy Loic Remy as backup(proven goalscorer on the cheap).
    With Remy and Mahrez we would 100% finish in the top 10. Why are they waiting for Roma to sign Mahrez, this is by far the best deal available on the market. We missed out on Arnautovic already.

    • Soldier

      they won`t pay the money or the wages

      • Sam Colligan

        Is anyone else worried about next season? I love Rafa but he isn’t a miracle worker. The current squad will struggle in the prem and so far the signings don’t seem all that exiting. Hopefully we can bring in some quality before the window ends and I’m proven wrong but…. just can see it being a tough season

    • Sam Colligan

      Your living in a dream world if you think Mahrez would join us

  • Lhc

    Mahrez is someone I have thought about as a possibility but wondered if it’s to ambitious for us, shouldn’t be but our club isn’t what it used to be!

    • Jimblag23

      What’s the incentive for him even if we bid and Leicester accept?

      • Jezza

        Agreed. If Mahrez decides to leave Leicester he will have a dozen better offers than NUFC. Ashley would never sanction the size of fee required anyway.

  • TC Toon Army

    We’re still suffering from years of bad management. Need to work through who to utilise and who needs to go. That’s a reason I’m glad we didn’t waiste money on quick fixes in January.

  • Soldier

    I look at the squad that was relegated & i look at the squad we have now, there is no overall improvement whatsoever

    • Jimblag23

      Gayles better than Cisse.
      Clarks better than Collocini.
      That’s about it I guess.

      • Soldier

        the markets went crazy with the TV money, Man C have just forked out another £52m for a 23yr old full back. he cost 6 million euros last July

      • Igo

        If those two improvements equals 3 more points then we would of/will stay up!

    • Paul Busby

      Quality of players, perhaps you’re right, spirit on the other hand is very different.

  • Leicester Mag

    £8M for Mitovic? A regular international goal scorer? Maybe not the answer but this valuation is plain daft.

  • magpiefifer

    A worrying scenario,but not surprising with Ashley!
    As I’ve said before,I will judge the squad at the end of the window,but based on signings to date,I don’t feel optimistic.

  • Toon Army AZ

    It is beginning to look like a zero sum game, an easier game to play last summer when we “bought down” – selling high price player to fund buying lower priced players designed to succeed in the Championship. A net profit was expected and achieved.

    This summer we need to “buy up” – selling lower priced players to fund higher priced Premier League players. In a zero sum game environment, this is an totally unrealistic strategy without an injection of funds, especially in the current climate of astronomical transfer fees.

    If Mr. Ashley is unwilling to inject new funding, then he is simply HOPING that the current squad is good enough to avoid relegation. This appears to be foolish given the financial devastation that would come from a 3rd relegation under his watch. Surely as a successful businessman, he understands that?

    HOPE is never a good business strategy.

    • Jezza

      I said consistently throughout the second half of last season that the ammount of money spent this summer would be equal to or less than what ever the club brought in from player sales. All the signs suggest that prediction will turn out to be pretty close to the mark in the end. Any NUFC fans who were expecting a summer of big spending have clearly learned nothing over the past 10 years about the way Ashley runs this club.

      • Toon Army AZ

        You are right, friend. Regarding transfer strategy, Ashley doesn’t appear to have changed his approach to running the club, even after 2 financially catastrophic relegations in 7 years. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting better results…

  • Blackburn1066

    I have said all along that Ashley gave Rafa the £30 mil from last season and told him he could use any money he got by selling players, so its sell a player and get someone in that fits the price. Just what I think and feel at the moment.