Rafa Benitez and his transfer budget have dominated the thoughts of both media and fans since the season ended.
With Newcastle finishing far higher (10th) than expected, as well as being on live TV far more times than all but a handful, clearly the season’s revenues will have been higher than expected.
So plenty of room for optimism on how much the manager has to spend, until you then wake up and remember it is Mike Ashley in charge, so no guarantees.
With only the time sensitive (to buy at £4m the deal had to be completed by the end of May) signing of Martin Dubravka so far, fair to say that supporters are waiting for the window to really kick into life.
An ‘interesting’ update on Monday from the Chronicle, who claim that Rafa Benitez is set to have over £75m to play with over the course of the summer.
However, I think their calculator must be on the blink…
‘Rafa Benitez has made acquiring a proven top-flight forward his priority this summer, though the Newcastle manager is working within a limited budget.
The Spaniard expects to be given a similar kitty to last summer – when United had a net spend of £46m – and he then hopes to recoup more than £30m from potential player sales to reinvest in his squad.’
That ‘£46m net spend’ seemed just a ‘little’ high, so I had a look back to last summer and this was the transfer activity in terms of players bought and sold.
Incoming buys summer 2017:
£6m Christian Atsu
£8.7m Florian Lejeune
£10m Jacob Murphy
£4m Javier Manquillo
Outgoing sales summer 2017:
£10m Florian Thauvin
£1m Kevin Mbabu
Claims of anything between £2m and £4m Siem de Jong
£2m Daryl Murphy
£3,5m Grant Hanley
So even taking the lower Siem de Jong figure, we are still only looking at a net spend of £15m at the most last summer, not the mythical £46m the Chronicle have come up with.
A £2.7m loan fee was paid for Mikel Merino but with Krul, Sels, Lazaar and others going out, Newcastle would have also collected money from loan deals last summer.
In October, it was confirmed that Mikel Merino’s deal had now become permanent. However, in Germany it was reported that this deal had been structured so it was always going to be a permanent deal triggered by a token number of games played, the arrangement meaning that Newcastle had only had to pay that initial £2.7m last summer and wouldn’t have to pay the permanent £6.5m fee until the following summer (2018).
So in actual fact, Newcastle may already be on a net spend of £10.5m (£4m Dubravka, £6.5m Merino) this summer, with none of us having realised it.
Who knows how much Mike Ashley is allowing Rafa Benitez as his basic transfer pot this time but let’s hope it isn’t based on that £15m from last season, or else we have almost spent up already! With players needed to go out to help finance others coming in.
On that front, the Chronicle claims are also not quite believable.
I can easily see Newcastle selling players this summer for a total of £30m or more, especially if Mitrovic goes – as expected, but what will Rafa get from that?
No signs at all of Mike Ashley changing his policy of selling players and insisting//allowing other club to pay for the transfer fee over a number of years, so if say £30m of players are sold, then it might equal only £10m or less for Rafa Benitez to spend this summer.
I really really hope that the Chronicle’s guesstimate of £75m to spend does prove to be correct, even though their workings out leave a lot to be desired.
As always though with Ashley, I live in hope (of things changing) but fear the worst.