Last week it was revealed that there was a stand-off between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.
The Chronicle saying that their information was that Ashley was refusing to give the manager a transfer budget this summer, until Rafa signed a contract extension.
Well still no sign/news of any contract extension for the United boss but the same source now says there has been movement on the transfer budget.
Wednesday lunchtime has seen The Chronicle report that Rafa Benitez has now been informed as to what his summer transfer budget is.
However, that looks to be where the good news ends….
The newspaper says that the budget is believed to be very similar to what Rafa Benitez was allowed to spend last season.
Rafa having to make do with budget buys such as Atsu (£6m), Manquillo (£4m), and Josleu (£5m), as five players were bought and Mikel Merino brought in on an initial loan (that was then confirmed in October as a permanent deal for £6.5m, with the cash reportedly set to be paid this summer 2018).
Around £35m was spent in summer 2017, with more than half of that recouped as Thuavin, de Jong, Hanley, Mbabu, Murphy and others were sold.
Then in January (2018), Mike Ashley allowed no players to be bought in, with Rafa restricted to three loan deals.
Hopes of a more ambitious approach look to be dashed if The Chronicle are near the mark and helps explain why things have been so quiet so far, now a month into the transfer window.
Only Martin Dubravka has signed so far and his transfer was time sensitive, with NUFC losing the chance to get him for only £4m if the transfer wasn’t done before the end of May.
Rafa Benitez revealed in November (see below) that on the budget allowed by Mike Ashley last summer, he couldn’t compete with either Huddersfield or Brighton when it came to transfer fees or wages for potential new signings.
Huddersfield have just broken their transfer record yet again in recent days, with Terence Kongolo brought in from Monaco for around £18m.
This is the new reality and if Rafa Benitez isn’t backed properly this summer, the odds are yet again stacked against him.
Rafa Benitez – 27 November 2017:
“If you want to sign a striker who will score 20 goals, you must pay £40m.
“If you sign an average striker, it is £15m, or £10m if they can kick it forward.
“We didn’t do it. That’s the situation we’re in. We must stick together. I still have full confidence in our team.
“We have to compete against Huddersfield and Brighton but we couldn’t sign the players they signed or pay the wages that they paid.
“A message for our fans – stick together. You see what we have and the players are giving everything. They can manage if we stay calm.
“We have to support our team; to support our players. If they make the worst mistake in football history, we (still) stick together.”