Groundhog day has returned to the Newcastle United training ground again, and again, and again…Rafa Benitez quizzed on his future.

Today’s pre-match press conference no different to the Tottenham, Watford and others ones that have gone before this one.

If Rafa Benitez does know anything, then he isn’t letting on.

Asked about his future, the United boss claims nothing has changed and that talks will continue between his and the club’s representatives.

One thing he did confirm longer term, is that pre-season the players will once again travel for a training camp in Ireland.

Oh for a crystal ball to see if he will still be with the squad in two months time on that trip.

Rafa Benitez talks about next season and the summer transfer window as though he will be still here – but with the words he uses a lot of the time, I do think he is very definitely delivering a message. Whether that is as well as, or instead of indicating he will be here, is anybody’s guess.

The manager says the club have to be ‘quite busy’ in the transfer market, which I translate into ‘very busy’.

By very busy, I mean it is more like five or six players Newcastle need, rather than one or two.

Rafa himself makes the point that once the season ends, Newcastle are instantly three players down with the loans ending. Two of those players having been amongst the best three or four players in the team in these past three months+ they have been at St James Park.

Signing Dubravka and Kenedy would instantly fill two of the six spaces that I believe we need to fill.

Rafa Benitez has met the press ahead of Sunday’s final day of the season against Chelsea.

Rafa declares ‘I want to finish top 10 next season…but not like we are now’, meaning top 10 comfortably and not after a season-long relegation struggle, then to be in a position to try and win something as well.

Rafa Benitez at his pre-Chelsea press conference:

“We have [this summer’s] pre-season organised and we will go away to Ireland [once again].

 “I will have more talks with the club [about my future] but my job [at the minute] is to be sure that the players are focused for Chelsea, then my people have to talk with Lee Charnley to try  and make progress.

“So we are still talking but no news yet.

“If we do well [on Sunday] I will enjoy the moment, I am just concentrating on doing well against Chelsea.

“For me, the key this season has been the unity between fans, players, staff, everyone – the workrate of this group of players.

“It is important to finish on a high because the players and fans deserve that, we want to win on Sunday against Chelsea.

“We have no real change with team news.

“Clark and Atsu are [still] out, whilst Slimani is suspended and Kenedy is ineligible.”

Manager of the season?:

“I think Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for obvious reasons.

“Sean Dyche at Burnley has had a great season too. It’s not fair to choose.”

Next season:

“We have to be quite busy in the transfer market and we need more experience.

“We also lose a couple of players as we have three loans, we have to add quality to the good players we already have.

“I want to finish top 10 next season…but not like we are now.

“I want to guarantee we are there and also challenge to win something, to get more – this is not where we are now.”

  • Paul Patterson

    I remember when Alan Shearer mapped out a pre-season programme before being shunned and dumped by the despicable, thoughtless owner we still have.
    I would say it’s 50/50 that Rafa will see the pre-season through to the first competitive match in August . .

    • Jezza

      I wish I could say I thought the odds of Rafa staying were as high as 50%. It seems inevitible that he’ll be gone. A combination of other much better offers and the certainty of Ashley shafting for a fifth successive transfer window will ensure his departure I fear.

      • Paul Patterson

        I’m holding onto vain hope that £50m+ will be coming Rafa’s way. Anything less and it won’t be anywhere near good enough.

        • Mirandinha9

          The only way Cashley will provide him with £50 Million is by letting him having all the funds secured from sales, though, I don’t envisage we’ll get that level of funds from selling Mitrovic and others. In reality, the topic is irrelevant as Benitez is soon to depart. Cashley will already be in dialogue with Pardew and Carver, determining their availability.

      • 1957

        Rumours in London media are Benitez’s people are having with ‘discussions’ with three other clubs, one in the PL and 2 on the continent both in Europe next year, at the same time as they are talking with Charnley.

        • nufcslf

          Very worrying, but not at all surprising.

    • Ram Kishore

      Chris Houghton wasn’t a bad appointment though..
      Think like this what if Alan shearer was appointed as a permanent manager( than an assistant manager )and he couldn’t turn the team around and we are losing or we didn’t get promoted.. Fans would have started to criticize him so much.. the respect he has could have gone down if everything turned upside down..
      Yes Ashley could have handled the situation better but telling him that the team needs a experienced manager..
      That choice made by Ashley was a good one

      • Jezza

        Chris Hughton got the job purely and simply because he was the cheapest possible option and for no other reason. It was just pure dumb luck that Hughton turned out to be a good manager.

        • Coble’s Return

          Exactly – by good fortune, it worked out unbelievably well with Chris Hughton, which is why Ashley tried the same thigh again with Carver, which worked out unbelievably badly.

          • Coble’s Return

            Thing, not thigh.

        • Ram Kishore

          Thats way better than inexperienced manager/coach taking over ..
          Jus my honest opinion, no offence to Alan

          • Guest 2

            Again – Carver was experienced. He was cheap, in the right place, and an utter disaster for the team.

          • Ram Kishore

            Houghton turned out to be better manager
            No one knew Carver would turn out to be bad at management… He has been a coach for a long time at NUFC.. Most of the managers come after being coaches..
            Carver must have proved himself at lower league levels and then he should have been appointed….It was Ashley’s mistake.. because he didn’t know better

      • Paul Patterson

        But it was once again a silly gamble . .

        • Ram Kishore

          Yeah silly one but Houghton had experience in coaching but Shearer didnt

          • Guest 2

            So did Carver. What the F is your point?

        • ghostrider

          It wasn’t a silly gamble. It was a calculated gamble and one that worked.
          I think Shearer made a big mistake taking the job on and a bigger mistake walking in with a stern attitude from the off when players were already not giving a flying falook.

          There’s a valid reason why Shearer does match of the day and TV work. and is not a manager.

      • Guest 2

        Huh? Good on Houghton, but he was the Asst manager at the time. Hardly like Ashley or Charnley had to go far to find him. Got the boot despite winning promotion and the side sitting mid table in the PL.
        Exactly the same as what they did when they gave the village idiot, Carver, the job after P45 slinked away.

        • Ram Kishore

          Sacking Houghton was dumb.. it was one of the many bad and dumb by Ashley.. Cheap luck but Houghton’s appointment wasn’t a bad one actually and one of few right lucky decisions he had… Like Carr’s initial days, Rafa’s appointment but bad decisions out weigh the right ones

    • Rich Lawson

      I think in a veiled way he has made his position very clear.Time for the owner to actually become involved in negotiations rather than someone (Charnley) who can’t actually make the final call. Show some class Ashley and make your decision making clear if you intend to stay here for another season.

    • Guest 2

      Can’t see that happening. He won’t make it to the first match if he hasn’t been given the assurances he is asking for, along with the funding needed.

  • Leazes.

    I think Rafa has given up on the Rafalution.

  • Mike

    nothing will happen as usual it will go sooooooo quiet and no money will come tho another “big” club will come in and Rafa will go. players worth a wedge will be sold and we will welcome a Cashley lackey AGAIN and 50k will sit in the library of St James and buy sports direct new strip. and ONE man will be laughing at the stupidity of the Geordies while collecting the £££££

    • Mirandinha9

      Spot on. Thanks

  • robbersdog

    It’s horrible seeing all those Sports Direct logos behind Rafa’s head. It’s no wonder our commercial/sponsorship income is so low when NUFC is basically just a marketing vehicle for Ashley’s main business.

    • Guest 2

      Too true. I’m sick to death of fatty’s supporters banging on about what a great businessman he is. So great, the commercial revenue is still below the level it was 11 years ago when he bought the club.
      He’s done absolutely nothing to create additional revenue or create asset value for his business, our club.

      • Billmag

        Quite right people like him and the money he’s got he can ride roughshod over anyone.

      • ghostrider

        What asset value did the club have when he took it over from Hall?
        Think about that.

        We still have a club in the premier league because of him, regardless of mistakes made.

    • ghostrider

      It’s only horrible because you hate Ashley who’s company is sports direct. That’s it…because I can bet anything that nobody would be whining if Ashley was handing Sheikh type money to Rafa.

      • robbersdog

        Yes Captain Obvious, you’re quite right.

  • Guest 2

    The seasons finished. Fatty knows what the base minimum revenue will be. There’s no reasons left for him not to have Rafa sewn up – other than the obvious one of him not being prepared to back him as is required, and the fact he is probably still chancing his hand on a sale and again not wanting to commit funds as a result.
    Either way, I expect nothing but the same old drawn our Summer of nothingness. We’ll hear the club couldn’t reach agreement with Rafa (with Sky / un-named sources leaking he was being too greedy, or some other BS) and as a result they didn’t have time to recruit the players required.
    God only knows who the fat parasite would throw upon us in this case, other than the fact he seems to have a thing for useless English managers.

  • LA toon

    Rafa has a year on his contract to run and would need another club to pay, I believe 5million , to secure his services before the end of next season. As a professional I believe he is looking to continue to do his best with the players he is allowed to buy and finish his contract. If he can include a realistic budget, to be competative in the PL, as a part of the ongoing negotiations to extend his contract then he may stay.

    • ghostrider

      If he’s just going to finish his contract he won’t be given any money. He’d have to sell to add, because Ashley is no mug.
      And if he was just running out his contract then that would say more about his mindset in a negative way than anything on the integrity scale.

      If he thought there was nothing to build on he would simply walk away citing he’s been undermined…not hold out to simply pick up his wages.

  • ghostrider

    He wants to finish top 10 next season but not like we are now.
    I don’t get that.
    What’s he saying…does anyone know?