On the 16th day of the transfer window with no January signings for Newcastle as yet, there has now been a new positive update.
It is reported that Mike Ashley has agreed Rafa Benitez can make up to three signings over the course of the next 15 days, the window closing on Wednesday 31 January.
The report says that Ashley has now accepted that Rafa Benitez is right and that an injection of quality is needed this month, if Newcastle are to successfully avoid relegation.
If this was your usual suspects/newspapers, where they always have to write something even if nothing is happening, then you would take it with the usual pinch of salt.
However, the update has come from Damian Spellman, the main man at Press Association Sport, when it comes to covering Newcastle United
PA Sport don’t just invent stories (unlike some…) and so whilst they don’t reveal their source for the story, they certainly have spoken to somebody who has briefed them as to this (allegedly) being the situation now.
However, whilst I have no doubt that that it is a genuine story, the devil may be in the detail.
Damian Spellman saying ‘However, it is understood that Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley will have limited funds with which to work.’
Rafa Benitez has repeatedly said he didn’t know how much, if anything, he had to spend this month. So just possibly, this is in a roundabout way, that figure confirmed.
The word ‘limited’ means different things to different people and when you have Huddersfield buying Alex Pritchard for £12m already and West Brom reported to have put a bid in of between £12m and £15m for Fulham’s Tom Cairney, it makes you wonder just how far any limited funds will stretch for Rafa Benitez?
I have always thought the best chance of Newcastle bringing in any real quality this month was via loan deals A loan deal for a sought after Premier League player would cost probably the best part of £5m on loan fee and wages for the rest of the season, so sadly I would doubt if Ashley would even agree to two or three of them this month – if the players would indeed come. This is also needing to have Mike Ashley agreeing to loan deals, where he would then never have the chance of a return on his (the club’s) money.
Maybe part of any step forward could be based on Mike Ashley now being willing to accept realistic fees on players Rafa clearly has no wish to keep/play, such as Mitrovic, Mbemba and others.
Just like a football club, every player has his price and clearly for example Mitro has been priced out of a move so far in the last year and a half or more, with regular reports/claims that Ashley expects to get at least the £13m/£14m Newcastle paid for the Serbian striker, who has only started 15 league games in the 22 months Rafa Benitez has been at St James Park.
Even despite the above, I would still be surprised if Newcastle make any first team signings this window, even on loan.
Damian Spellman of Press Association Sport:
‘Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has been given the go-ahead to bring in up to three new signings to help in the fight for Premier League survival.
Press Association Sport understands that owner Mike Ashley has sanctioned the move having accepted the Spaniard’s argument that he needs further help if he is to keep the club in the top flight and secure another instalment of the riches that would bring.
However, it is understood that Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley will have limited funds with which to work as they step up their ongoing efforts to bolster a squad which was left short during the summer transfer window.
The manager drew up a series of targets some time ago and hoped to have new additions in place by this Saturday, although with the January market proving as difficult as ever, progress has been painfully slow.
Efforts to tie up a loan deal for Chelsea youngster Kenedy have been held up at the Stamford Bridge end, while Liverpool striker Danny Ings has indicated he would prefer to stay at Anfield and fight for his place after his return to fitness.
With time fast running down, Newcastle will hope for movement on one or both fronts, while at the same time turning their attention to alternatives. Benitez could boost his pot and free up wages by offloading current members of his squad with Jack Colback and Henri Saivet among those considered surplus to requirements.
However, he has insisted he has no plans to sell any player currently playing amid speculation over the futures of Chancel Mbemba, Jonjo Shelvey and Christian Atsu.
Ashley has made his move with the Magpies sitting in 15th place in the table with 23 points from as many games and just three clear of the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s trip to leaders Manchester City.
His hopes of selling the club by Christmas are now a distant memory and while the channels of communication with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners remain open, sources on Tyneside were mystified on Tuesday by claims that an improved offer had been made.
With little prospect of a swift breakthrough, the sportswear magnate has given Charnley, the man who does the deals, the green light to strengthen in a bid to protect his investment, and the success or otherwise of his mission over the next fortnight or so could prove critical.’