Laid out below is exactly three months worth of build-up from Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez, with regard to the January signings to be made.
It starts with Sky Sports reporting on the 16 October 2017 that Mike Ashley has ‘promised to invest in the squad in January’ if Newcastle United has still not been sold.
We are now at the 16 January 2018 and only 15 days until the transfer window closes.
Rafa Benitez hasn’t been allowed to bring in a single player yet, even on loan.
On Saturday his entire team against Swansea were Championship players who played for Newcastle last season in the second tier.
The manager has repeatedly stated he still does not know what his transfer budget, if any, is.
That is the current, quite unbelievable, position Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans find themselves in.
Just have a look through these quotes from the last three months, mostly from Rafa.
Time after time calling on Mike Ashley to honour his promises, to at least make available the money he wasn’t allowed to spend in the summer, the fact he doesn’t even know whether he has any money to spend.
16 October 2017 – Sky Sports:
“Ashley says he’ll only sell to someone who can take the club forward.
He has promised to invest in the squad in Jan if it’s yet to be sold.”
27 November 2017 – The Mag:
“We have to compete against Huddersfield, Brighton and Burnley – but we couldn’t compete (in the summer) against those clubs and sign the players that they were signing.
“We couldn’t pay the prices they were paying or the wages they were offering.
“Our fans know where we are and why we are here.
“Are we happy? No….it could be better…but it could be worse. If it gets worse then you keep on going.
“We didn’t do it (spend the necessary money in the Summer) and that is the situation we’re in. We must stick together and I still have full confidence in our team.
“Yedlin didn’t have a bad game, he was up against two top quality players and we have to win games as a team.”
“We do not know what is going on (with the takeover) and what will happen.
“Our fans need to know it could be even worse.
“If we don’t sign anyone what can we do?
8 December 2017 – The Mag:
“It is very simple. You have to be sure that your team is strong enough to stay in the Premier League.
“I think it is obvious that we have some positions that we have to reinforce. I want someone to write the cheques. I’ll be happy with that.
“I hope there is money left from the summer because we did not spend it all.
“I don’t know if someone will write the cheques…
“I’m confident we can stay up, but we need help in some positions – as soon as we have injuries we have problems winning.
“I will have a meeting and I will ask, we will talk about what we have, what we need.
“I think he (Mike Ashley) is a businessman.
“A businessman will have a clear idea about what he needs to do with his business to improve his business, then it will be much better.”
8 December 2017 – The Mag:
“It is my conviction that we will stay up but new players could help.
“We (Rafa and Mike Ashley) had a meeting in May and I am expecting that the money we did not spend in August to be available in January.
“I hope to have a meeting soon.
12 December 2017 – The Mag:
“We know our job. Everyone has an opinion. It’s not rocket science – we need players in some positions. If we can, fine, if not, we will have to work harder.
“We’re monitoring players and talking to people. We still don’t know how much money is available. We know what we need, can we get that, I don’t know.”
12 December 2017 – The Mag:
“What I would say is that if you know where you are (what transfer budget you have, if any…) and what you have, it is easier for me and it is easier for our people.
“We can talk with agents, players and clubs and say, ‘We are here’ and ‘We can’, or ‘We cannot’. It is easier.
“You know where you are and you can go in one direction or another one. You need to know as soon as possible.
“Now we need to concentrate on this game. Hopefully, we can finish this (Everton) game and talk. We have Arsenal in a few days, but still, we need to know because our people are travelling round the world watching games.
“We have our targets.
“I would say (we need to know our transfer budget) as soon as possible. That’s normal.
“You have to go to the market in January and have your targets. You need to know the budget. That is it.”
13 December 2017 – The Mag:
Rafa Benitez asked when he needs to know his January transfer budget:
“As soon as possible but I don’t know when (that will be).
“We have the money from the summer window – I think we have some money but I need to know how much.”
16 December 2017 – The Mag:
“We will try to bring in some additions that will bring a lift to the team.
“The fans know the team will be tough. They also know we need something in January that will help the current squad.
22 December – The Mag:
“I have confidence that Mike Ashley will deliver what we need to stay in the Premier League before January 20, to be sure that we have time to work with the new players.
“I don’t know the budget that I have, so we don’t know how much we can spend…we have to do things as quickly as possible.
“I have the belief and the confidence in Mike Ashley, that by January 15 or 20, we have to be there with everything done.
“Am I confident we can get what we want? In some cases yes, in some cases no.”
23 December – The Mag:
“I am talking with Lee Charnley every day, I was also in contact with Mike Ashley.
“We were talking about January, that was the main thing. We have been in contact talking about how to move forward.
“What we have to do what we have to do to improve the team, to be sure we can compete and stay in the Premier League.
“Hopefully, we will improve and be much better in the second part of the league and compete against teams we can compete against.”
27 December – The Mag:
“I think that this club still has great potential.
“If we do the things that we have to do now in January and we stay in the Premier League…it is one of the teams that has to be in the top eight – watching the table and the size of the other teams. But we have to be sure we understand that this is a crucial time for us (this season).
(Rafa asked how many January signings he wants) “It depends. You have to be sure that we have three or four positions (we strengthen) and we bring someone in that can give us something different.
“I think that it will be positive. The players, they know, they know the quality of players (that Newcastle need) and what they want is to bring players in to compete and be better.”
30 December 2017 – The Mag (after draw with Brighton):
“The fans appreciate the effort that the players are putting in on the pitch.
“Now we will see if we can do something in January and bring in some help for this group of players.
5 January 2018:
‘Rafa Benitez admits still doesn’t know January transfer budget.
“I don’t know exactly what our (January transfer) budget is (yet).
“At the moment, we don’t have any movement (in the transfer window), so we are waiting.
5 January 2018 – The Mag:
‘Sky Sports say that their sources have told them that Rafa Benitez wants to bring in four new players in January.’
8 January 2018 – The Mag:
‘Sky Sports say no chance of Rafa Benitez landing these 3 transfer targets.
Rafa Benitez has no chance of signing three top transfer targets according to Sky Sports.
Speaking to the Sky Sports transfer talk podcast, Keith Downie said:
“Rafa Benitez has looked at David Luiz this window.
“He would like to bring him in on loan until the end of the season but there is no chance of that happening.
“He would also like to bring in Daniel Sturridge from Liverpool, or Danny Ings, but these are not going to happen.
“For one they (Newcastle United) can’t afford it, and two, he hasn’t even been told the (January transfer window) budget.”
12 January 2018 – Rafa Benitez:
(Asked if knows how much he has to spend in January yet) “No – but we are still working.
(Asked if Newcastle will make signings) “I hope so.
“For me it is obvious, he (Mike Ashley) knows he has to improve the team, so that we have the quality which allows us to stay in Premier League.
“I have made it clear (to Mike Ashley) that we need some help. We need to strengthen certain positions.
“I have made clear what we have to do now (regardless of any future takeover), without thinking about what may or may not happen in the future.
15 January 2018 – The Mag – Rafa Benitez:
“Carvalhal told me that (Newcastle started v Swansea with whole team who played in Championship for NUFC last season) before the game and it tells everybody where we are.
“I have been saying it all season and yet some people say ‘You have to do this and you have to do that’…but this is the reality.