Alan Shearer saw what was coming with Newcastle United this summer…
After promotion was achieved just over three months ago, he said what needed to happen this summer AND what was likely to occur.
Alan Shearer stated: ‘Quite simply, he (Rafa Benitez) needs about eight new players just to turn Newcastle into a mid-table Premier League team’.
The NUFC legend also saying though ‘Newcastle are at a crossroads and I’m not convinced Mike Ashley will take the right turn. What evidence is there that he is going to change now?’.
Shearer’s comment that Rafa needed a budget of at least £150m grabbed all the headlines but when you look back, he actually said that this was to turn Newcastle (instantly) into a ‘mid-table Premier League team’.
Obviously the bare minimum intention was/is to avoid a relegation scrap and to simply be pretty sure of avoiding relegation, I think Shearer and the vast majority of other Newcastle fans realistically expected a spend of at least £80m this summer.
With only £30m spent (only £17m net) so far, Rafa Benitez has made clear he is far from happy but is going to soldier on.
Alan Shearer though spells it out, now saying ‘At the end of last season, Mike Ashley said he would give ‘every penny’ he had to Rafa. I don’t know if that has been the case’.
Summing up the problems Rafa Benitez has now, Shearer says that with his experience the United boss will be setting the team up as ‘very difficult to beat’.
That is the reality. Newcastle desperately needed another quality striker, even without injury worries over Dwight Gayle, plus a quality attacking midfielder/number 10.
With those additions then it would/could have been realistic to take the game to many other sides this season but with Ashley undermining Rafa so far in this transfer market, it is a very tough ask for the manager to produce anything other than a (hopefully) hard to beat team.
Rafa Benitez himself said this week:
‘The name of the manager doesn’t matter, it is about the team. If you have the right tools you can compete…’
Alan Shearer – 9 August 2017:
“It has been a frustrating summer for Rafa Benitez.
“At the end of last season, Mike Ashley said he would give ‘every penny’ he had to Rafa.
“I don’t know if that has been the case.
“But with his experience and know how, Rafa will set the team up to be very difficult to beat.”
Alan Shearer – 1 May 2017:
“Newcastle are at a crossroads and I’m not convinced Mike Ashley will take the right turn.
“What evidence is there that he is going to change now?
“He clearly acceded to some of Rafa Benitez’s demands last summer, which is why he stayed on to get Newcastle back up…but it is a different ball game now.
“As soon as promotion was confirmed and Rafa refused to commit his future to Tyneside, I had to worry.
“Quite simply, he needs about eight new players just to turn Newcastle into a mid-table Premier League team.
“Benitez won’t want to go into next season knowing he has a squad only good enough for a relegation scrap. He won’t have it.
“There is a huge opportunity here for Newcastle to establish themselves again as a top-flight force.
“But he now needs, at the minimum, a £150million investment in new players.
“And I am not convinced that will happen.”