Mike Ashley has yet again undermined Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle Manager is not happy about it, according to Sky Sports on Friday morning.
They say that whilst Benitez was relieved to finally get a couple of players in, with Kenedy and Islam Slimani (as well as keeper Martin Dubravka) arriving on loan.
The Spaniard feels that it was a case of hopefully not too little too late.
Keith Downie covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports and he says that Rafa wanted Kenedy in the summer and that whilst Slimani was a possible target, he was only ‘fourth or fifth choice’.
At the very least Sky Sports say that Benitez expected January signings to arrive early in the month to give him the best chance of avoiding relegation.
However, Downie says that the United boss feels Mike Ashley will just ‘drag everything out and make it hard’ for his manager.
After the opening day of the transfer window when Newcastle beat Stoke away from home 1-0, they have then had four matches and won none of them, picking up only draws in winnable games against Swansea, Burnley and Palace, plus the defeat at Man City.
Back in December, Rafa Benitez said he needed all of his signings in by 15 January, or 20 January at the very latest so he had time to work with new players and integrate them into his squad.
Instead he got nobody by either the 15 or 20 January, with the feeling of many being that Mike Ashley was once again making a petulant point of showing who was in charge, after Rafa had gone public with those dates.
This window was a repeat of the previous two, with Rafa Benitez setting up deals at the start of each window, only for Mike Ashley to refuse to do the deals for the manager’s first choice signings.
This is yet another January without a single player bought, making it four of the last five when Mike Ashley hasn’t allowed any spending in the midway window.
Keith Downie of Sky Sports:
“Rafa Benitez is not happy.
“He’s got Kenedy now, but he wanted him in the summer, not halfway through the season.
“Slimani, I understand, was on his list of possible striker signings for January, but he wasn’t his priority. He was fourth or fifth choice.
“I think he is satisfied to have at least got those players in, but he feels it should have been done a lot earlier rather waiting until the end of the window.
“He could have had them in for three or four games already. And right now, with so few games to go, every game and every point is massive.
“So he is frustrated. I think he just feels the club drag everything out and make it hard. He gave them his list of targets at the start of the month, but they didn’t get them in until deadline day.
“He had already done the checks and background work on them himself, so why not get them in earlier?
“There’s no doubt that the takeover had a massive impact on the January transfer window.
“Staveley promised she would spend money if she had taken over, but Ashley didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something he might not own in four months’ time.”