Rafa Benitez has not seen a single new face coming into Newcastle United this summer so far.
Almost as surprisingly, nobody has left either.
At the end of June both Massadio Haidara and Jesus Gamez see their contracts run out but apart from that, no definite news of shifting anybody.
Quite clearly, Newcastle United have plenty of players that the manager has no use for.
Last season saw numerous senior players out on loan, with the hope of it leading to a permanent move, either at the loan club or having impressed some other club.
With Rafa not having been able/allowed to bring in signings (apart from the prearranged Dubravka deal that had to be completed by the end of May for the £4m transfer fee to apply), I have noticed that a lot of the speculative NUFC transfer coverage claiming it is going to be ‘great news for Rafa Benitez’ has tended to be more and more focused on players being sold.
The stories tending to go along the lines of ‘Great news if…….is sold,, as it means £..m added to Rafa’s transfer pot.’
The following are amongst those clearly all up for sale and many feature in these stories:
Aleksandar Mitrovic, Rolando Aarons, Chancel Mbemba, Henri Saivet, Matz Sels, Achraf Lazaar and Jack Colback.
I think we will see at least five or six of that list move on but what will it mean for the manager?
I also believe that if offers came in for many other fringe players, there is a possibility they could also move on – the likes of Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu, Isaac Hayden, Rob Elliot, Javier Manquillo and Joselu.
Additionally, there looks to be substance in the claims of Mikel Merino potentially heading back to Spain, another possible/likely departure.
Once again though, what would this mean then for Rafa’s transfer plans?
Well, all the reports I read, have the journalists seeing it as very simple…
If say Mike Ashley is allowing Rafa Benitez something like only £30m as a basic summer transfer fund, if he sells players for £50m or so, he will then have £80m to spend on players in total.
To believe this, you have to totally ignore how Mike Ashley has conducted transfers year after year.
When other clubs buy players from Newcastle, Ashley wants them to pay by instalments, so when for example NUFC ‘got’ £30m for Moussa Sissoko in summer 2016, it was actually £6m that they ‘got’ up front, with the rest of the cash to follow in later seasons.
Ashley has got lucky once again in recent months, with Aleksandar Mitrovic going from a player that nobody was going to pay £10m for, to a goalscorer who will sell for at least £20m this summer, with who knows how much it would be if he pulled a few rabbits out of the hat over in Russia. Don’t forget, it was on the back of a couple of surprise Sissoko showings in Euro 2016, that Spurs suddenly were willing to agree that £30m valuation.
Using a £20m Mitro sale as a base, it could quite easily see £50m or more agreed for players heading out of Newcastle this summer. Merino would be at least £10m and then the likes of Saivet, Sels, Mbemba, Colback, Aarons and the odd fringe player or two such as Atsu or Hayden, would/could comfortably raise the sales figure to £50m+.
However, where is the incentive for Rafa Benitez to sell any player he might have a use for, if he was to only get around 20% of any sales figures to spend now?
I haven’t read one report claiming Mike Ashley is going to change this policy, never mind it actually happening.
This is part of the total disconnect between Ashley & his minions and Rafa Benitez & doing things in an ambitious and progressive way to take the club forward.
Mike Ashley wanting to take incoming fees in instalments isn’t a problem, if at the same time he was willing to support Rafa over and above that.
Instead he hides behind weasel statements of giving the manager ‘every penny’ including cash from outgoing transfers…but the reality of that is this amounts to very little, if Rafa Benitez only sees a small fraction to invest now, of what players are sold for.
Using Mitrovic as the example, Rafa could sell him to Premier League new boys Fulham for £20m and they have their potentially PL class centre forward, whereas Rafa then has only £4m (20% of the £20m) to go towards his own striker target.
So for Newcastle fans and Rafa Benitez, £30m + £50m doesn’t necessarily = £80m, in fact there is no chance of it doing so, with even the manager agreeing to trade in players this summer, still meaning he is likely to have little/no more than he had to spend last summer when he had to shop for bargains.
Once you accept the above, it is then easy to see why what looks an obvious bid for Kenedy hasn’t been made, or indeed decent offers for any decent player, if you believe the Chronicle.
These are depressing times and this is with Rafa Benitez still currently sticking it out, just imagine how you would be feeling now if the manager had walked and we had another Ashley stooge?
Where there is Rafa there is still hope…but it is fading fast with the club’s owner continuing to block/undermine any chance of things going well this summer and beyond.