Rafa Benitez couldn’t have made his message any clearer.
The United boss once again quizzed about the lack of action in the January transfer window.
Rafa had said back in December he ideally wanted all signings to be made by 15 January so he would have plenty of time to work with them ahead of crucial games, though he then added that at the very latest he wanted all transfer business concluded by 20 January.
Always the pragmatist, on the eve of the Swansea match the Newcastle manager says that they do have until 31 January ‘…and I am confident that we will do what we have to…I have to wait and see if we can do that.’
When Rafa Benitez says he is ‘confident’ of Mike Ashley doing the right thing, he is of course…anything but confident of it happening.
Last January it was exactly the same, Rafa repeatedly saying that he was sure that his targets would be signed, even in the last few days of the window. Not one player was signed and the manager went public with his anger.
This past summer, Rafa Benitez met Mike Ashley in May and the owner made ‘promises’ of backing in the transfer market. When this didn’t happen, from late July onwards he kept calling on Ashley to keep his promises. The only signing he made in the whole of August was Joselu for £5m, after he finally had to accept that the promises wouldn’t be kept and he was desperate for a striker as Gayle was injured and he had zero faith in Mitrovic.
Rafa says once again he has ‘made it clear’ to Mike Ashley ‘that we need some help’ with new signings.
We published poll results yesterday, after asking Newcastle fans what their expectations were of what would happen this month.
A massive 74% believed that no signings at all would be made to improve the first team in January. A further 21% thought one or two ‘decent’ loan signings might arrive. Only 5% expected anything better, such as quality signings – whether buys or loans, to happen, or even any decent players to be bought.
I wonder what Rafa Benitez would have voted for as the most likely outcome…?
“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.
“We still have some weeks to go and have to keep working and try to do our best.
“The point is that I want to do the best for the team.
“Can I change the transfer window talking with you here? No.
“We have though until the 31st of January and I am confident that we will do what we have to do…I have to wait and see if we can do that.
“We have to work with the names that we have and we have to try and do our best in the conditions we are working in.
“I thought that we could sign a player this week but we couldn’t do it.”