First things first – I love Rafa Benitez.

After all, why wouldn’t I? What he has accomplished already, as Newcastle manager, has been outstanding. I don’t need to tell any of you that.

I also don’t need to tell you to imagine what he could accomplish if he had a bit more financial backing behind him.

Rafa’s not naive, however, and, with all the will in the world, the money’s not going to come straight from Mike Ashley’s back pocket. Whatever budget he is given has to be supplemented from player sales and by the freeing up of heavy wage packets.

Today alone, I’ve read half-stories about Chancel Mbemba, Matz Sels and Aleksandar Mitrovic all looking at moving on. If the rumours are true, the combined funds that these sales would allegedly generate are somewhere between £20m and £30 million. And, that upper figure is very much looking on the bright side.

Even if that’s not the final sum, however, to trim the squad of three superfluous players (and their wages) has to be a step in the right direction.

What we’ve got to be wary of, however, is allowing any cash to go to our head.

When Benitez was Liverpool manager, he made some very questionable signings. Alberto Aquilani, anyone? How about Albert Riera? Ryan Babel? Robbie Keane had a rare duff spell in the red of Rafa’s Liverpool.

Now, it could be argued that, during his six-year spell on Merseyside, Benitez  did win the Champions League (reaching the final twice in total in his tenure) and the FA Cup, as well as consistent top four finishes in the league. So, if that’s the result of how he does business, who is anyone to argue? Let alone a Newcastle fan, starved of silverware.

My concern in all of this is that, amongst the great and the good that put pen to paper for him at Liverpool, there was a substantial waste of money going on at the same time and I don’t want that to be the case with us.

On a personal level, I feel that there have already been some jury-is-out players purchased by the manager. The signings of Grant Hanley, Daryl Murphy and the aforementioned Sels, have to be met with raised eyebrows, as they’ve all been sold (or are being sold on) with very little game time or impact in a black and white shirt.

Moving away from the signings Rafa felt like he had to make, such as the above three and Joselu, the likes of Jacob Murphy have, from my point of view, been a little disappointing. The impression I’ve always had is that he is one for the future, but should be making more noise than he currently does. Here’s hoping he just needed a season under his belt to get going.

I’m not trying to put any kind of dampener on the Rafa parade. I would love nothing more than to see Ashley open up his wallet, give him some backing and trust him to take Newcastle where Rafa Benitez believes they can be.

I’m just a little concerned that, for every Pepe Reina, we’ll also have an Andrea Dossena; for every Javier Mascherano, we’ll have a Jermaine Pennant, and for every Dirk Kuyt, we’ll have a Josemi.

So, maybe a war chest of hundreds of millions might not be the best way forward.

Perhaps a more modest transfer budget would be better for Newcastle in the long run. That way, Rafa will be a little more shrewd in the transfer market and then, there’s less possibility that we will end up with a squad of Gabriel Palettas. Whoever the hell he is (ED: A then 20 year old centre-back signed by Rafa for £2m in 2006 from Argentine club Banfield).

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  • panther

    Ashley’s not selling up and all the moneys going straight in his pocket

  • Paul Patterson

    No manager has a 100% record in the transfer market. Rafa bought what he could with what he had. If you have an Aldi budget, you don’t get Waitrose products .

    • ghostrider

      He didn’t have an Aldi budget though.
      He had a massive budget when you add the championship mo0ney and premier league money together…yet he bought badly.

      • JonMag

        you can`t buy a BMW when the owner gives you just enough for a
        Beetle, even a dimwit like you should fathom that out

        • ghostrider

          No but you can make a Beetle much more efficient than a BMW and the upkeep is much less hassle.

          • Big Hairy Man

            BMWs play better football than Beetles.

          • JonMag

            He`s another 1 of Ashley`s boys

          • ghostrider

            Yep, for a massive price. So they should.
            But then again what bracket of money is a BMW and what Bracket of money is a Beetle in the world of football?

          • Big Hairy Man

            For Beetle money you get the Hoss.

          • ghostrider

            So Sissoko was a Beetle who was sold as a BMW but wasn’t one. Am I getting this right?
            Andy Carroll was a Beetle and sold as a Bmw and was one, is one, or is he?

            Sometimes it makes you wonder if it’s worth getting a shiny new Beetle rather than buying in a potentially malfunctioning BMW that looks ok on the outside.

            Who really knows, eh?

        • paul mclaughlan

          BMW’s are rubbish in the rain. Have I gone off point now?

  • Clarko

    He will have ~£50m plus any sales, it’s a good budget as long as he can spend it how he wants, when he wants.

    • JonMag

      if he had that he`d be buying the players he needs now. come back when your heads on the right way round

      • Clarko

        Come back when you can read.

        ‘as long as he can spend it how he wants, when he wants’

        • JonMag

          [email protected]@k off i`ve no time for idiots like you

          • Clarko

            Says the person replying, who can’t read…

          • JonMag

            LOL, please [email protected]@k off, you pest

          • Clarko

            Says the person replying…

            Pigeons learn quicker.

          • TheNutJob

            i see you`ve made another friend Clarko

          • Wezza147

            Just block the troll mate, its WAY better that way.

          • JonMag

            i already have done,

  • JonMag

    this reads like the start of a briefing campaign against the manager.

    • Leazes.

      Have a look at his first post…. its professional ‘click-bait’ writing designed to provoke anger!

      • JonMag

        with Rafa refusing to sign a new contract i`m of the opinion that
        Ashley will be trying to force him out because there`s no way he will supply what Benitez wants. i may be wrong but it doesn`t look good

        • TheFatController

          I’m resigned to it.

          Hence I keep posting Kev and his mystic meg prediction
          ‘’They’ll never go anywhere under Ashley’

          Oh Kev, how Ashley’s made you eat your words …

    • TheFatController

      It’s so thinly-veiled though:-

      ‘I love Rafa, how could I not, BUT…’
      ‘In my opinion, so, you know, maybe it’s just me, BUT is Rafa that good…?’
      ‘Hey, he may have signed some bad players for Liverpool, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t win the CL and FA Cup, so, you know, every cloud…’

      Child’s play!

  • roblee07

    fair enough he did have some duffs but he cant get them all right. ferguson had djemba djemba, veron and taibi. You could have mentioned rafa took Alonso, torres and arbeloa to Liverpool – 3 duffs there aye! I also think you are a but harsh on Daryl Murphy. he was a great signing. played his part and arguably could of been the difference between automatic promotion and the lottery of the playoffs.

    • Dillon Tovak

      Exactly, there isn’t a manager out there that hasn’t signed a few duffers.
      Bobby Robson bought some rubbish at times too.

      • Desree

        Lots of I remember

        • Geordiegiants

          Not lots! But he did buy a few like Fergy.

    • TheFatController

      Remember Kleberson at man Utd? He liked our away following at OT so much he crossed every ball to us…

  • Leazes.

    Totally flies in the face of the first post you made on the Mag…. in that you were gushing with praise for Rafa’s skills and expediency and judgement…. I guess the events of one year have changed you and you Arnott a true believer….

    ….but you are a WUM!

  • Big Hairy Man

    You should get what you want because you can be sure Rafa’s budget will be modest. Very modest.

  • TheNutJob

    well a war chest of a quids nee good, is it.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Bit harsh on Ryan Babbel and Robbie Keane. Keane didn’t do well at Liverpool but he was a quality player and any manager would have signed him.

    • TheFatController

      For every bad signing there’s a Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres, I guess.

  • Pc07

    This is a ridiculous article. Don’t give rafa too much money because he might buy some duds? Surely that is a possibility regardless of budget? Also no matter who the manager is no one gets it right 100% of the time. Even Fergie signed some dross.
    The fact is Rafa when backed delivers success, managers who aren’t backed deliver nothing.
    And by the way Daryl Murphy at £3m proved invaluable with the goals he chipped in with.
    Hanley while not playing much was good to have, we never suffered much injuries in that position and it was another rafa signing who kept him on the bench, but despite that we still go our money back. I’ve read a lot of garbage on here over the years but this is right up there to the point where I’ve finally decided to register to make my feelings known.

    • Damon Horner

      My thoughts exactly. Less budget means less dross but then less quality also…. id take it though for a snip of what he’s achieved.

      Last season’s bad signings served a purpose but circumstances meant their purpose was less essential, shouldn’t have a fault really…

  • TheFatController

    Damning Rafa with faint praise, eh?

    You don’t need to qualify ‘in my opinion’ all the time, we gather it’s your opinion from the fact you’ve written it.

    One thing I disagree with is pulling Rafa up on buying players who are bought precisely because they are unlikely to play a lot – older, mature professionals who stay fit and focused despite knowing they won’t be playing much but may be needed when injuries/suspensions hit – like you’ve mentioned Daryl Murphy. Jesus Gamez is another in that bracket.

    Of course they’re not going to play much, they’re third or fourth choices. That’s the point!

    I know I should allow for anyone to write on here, but that last point is basic football logic, yet Rafa gets criticized for that logic. It’s doesn’t make for a great read sadly.

  • Foggy

    Don’t buy anybody and you won’t have any failures. That will get us a long way.

  • We have a good core team. If we can at least get a decent striker and a left-back I would be happy. Couple of good loan deals are also likely.

    • Clarko

      So you would be happy starting with Perez, Atsu and Ritchie in August? We are short at left back but Dummett is far from our worst player. We need a winger and we need an attacking midfielder.

      • I would be OK, since I know these players will have improved and gained experience. We need signings, but we need better players than what we have and those are not cheap. We need to strengthen our left side (full back and winger) and buy a striker. I would target those positions if on a limited budget.

        • Clarko

          Do you have a magic crystal ball? You do not know that the players ‘will have improved’.

          You think we need a LB more than we need a LW? Because that is what you implied in your first message.

          • There far too much time on the transfer window. Why are you panicking this much? We all know how Ashley operates. I’ll be glad if we fill in those 3 positions with some quality, however, we need to sell to buy, and it appears quite difficult at the moment.

          • Clarko

            Are you able to follow a conversation? We’re not talking about the transfer situation, we are talking about you and you wanting a LB ahead of all the other positions. Feel free to provide a quote where I panicked?

          • It sounds like you are panicking. I believe competition for every spot is vital, even if we have a good player playing there. I might have said it wrong but I mean we need to get somebody to play on the left wing and compete with Dummett as left-back and we need a 10+ goals per season striker as ours are not good enough. We have time to get these players in, but will most likely have to shift 4-5 players before that happens.

          • Clarko

            Then quote where I panicked. Why would I panic over you wanting a LB? That’s almost as stupid as you wanting a LB ahead of a LW, CAM and RB…

            What do you mean you ‘might have said it wrong’? We know what you said, you said that you would be ‘happy’ if ‘we can at least get a decent striker and a left-back’. That isn’t a typo or a mistake, that’s what you meant. Happy with two players and those being a ST and a LB.

          • You are mental, mate :)

          • Clarko

            Nothing of substance to say. Shocker…

    • Geordiegiants

      We need a left winger and a striker more than any other positions. Left backs not even an area that needs looking at this season.

  • Billmag

    Just remember this author the manager got us promoted at the first time of asking irrespective of which player’s he bought, have a look at where the two teams are that went down with us and finishing 10th was no mean feat on a miserly budget.

  • Desree

    Most fans would be happy ecstatic with 50m spent.
    Rafa has turned a bench warming dud into a 35m – 50m asset.

    Perez is now a 20m player.

    Dubravka a 15m player and instant 11m profit.

    Ashley has previously been investing money with muppets. Rafa is his Warren Buffet. Her will make the club even more valuable.

    • Duh

      I’d add, no one has a 100% hit rate; the likes of Wenger and Ferguson signed a few duffers.

      It’s part and parcel; some signings work out some don’t, you need to have more hits than misses.

  • Geordiegiants

    How can Daryl Murphys contribution be questioned ?

    • Kneebotherm8

      Exactly…..he was bought for the one championship season only….he did exactly what was required in that division…..and was sold for a minimal loss….

    • Vodkamagpie

      We played Murphy instead of mitrovic and Armstrong. Extra game time game time for 2 long term future Newcastle players wasted away you could argue

      • TheFatController


  • Andrew Cowley

    You can go through any managers career and find a few duck eggs even Sir Alex had them.daryl murphy was a very good signing also.

  • Martin

    The logical conclusion of which is to give Rafa nothing to spend and he will waste nothing.

  • Callum

    Are all ‘authors’ on this site brain damaged?