Rafa Benitez has been reflecting on what might have been this summer…

The Newcastle Manager saying he had planned to have all of his major targets signed early in the summer transfer window and then be able to train with them for a month or more, ensuring they were integrated and team was ready to hit the ground running on Saturday, when Spurs visit St James Park.

Instead…Rafa once again was left with little option to start with a team of players who were with him in the Championship, the exception being Joselu, which tells its own story.

Even by Mike Ashley standards, this transfer window has hit real rock bottom in terms of failure to support the manager.

Whether Rafa has managed to conjure up some gems from such a meagre budget (only Florian Lejeune was a regular in the second half of last season, from the six summer 2017 signings) remains to be seen – but little doubt he has been left shopping for bargains as per last season.

This is the third window where Rafa Benitez has been desperate for a new first choice centre-forward and the manager has already said that for all positions he has had to go some way down his list of preferences.

Salomon Rondon was pictured in a Tyneside hotel on Sunday and is reported to have had a medical already. This is more positive news but still an absolute joke in terms of the fact that it has taken until this point for a deal to happen, meaning the striker has taken no part at all in pre-season games and training.

As for the fact that Newcastle have sold a striker for £22m (could rise to £27m) and yet the manager isn’t allowed to shop at that same level for a replacement, is soul destroying for both manager and fans.

When asked whether what has happened in this transfer window has been what was needed, Rafa Benitez doesn’t hold back: ‘Is it enough? I don’t think so.’

The United boss makes clear that his message for Mike Ashley was that whilst Newcastle did finish 10th last season, ‘the margin was very narrow.’

Even on the last day of the season, if results had gone differently then Newcastle could have ended up 15th.

Plus, I don’t think any fan will pretend that it wasn’t a season of relegation struggle until the last couple of wins in that February to April run of five victories in seven games, which was massively built on the fact/luck that loan signings Kenedy and Dubravka were so good, despite having hardly any time with their new teammates before in desperation, Rafa had to throw them into the starting eleven.

Can Rondon, Muto and hopefully a couple of more signings yet to be made, manage to do a similar job, be able to make a more or less instant impact?

With a team who have looked so poor to average in the friendlies and not managed a goal in the last four and a half hours of match action, Rafa has some work to do this week with both established players and new signings.

It remains to be seen whether he has been dealt a situation which turns out to be mission impossible. If the likes of Pardew, McClaren or Carver were in charge then the situation would be truly desperate, at least with Rafa in the final year of his Newcastle contract there is still hope.

Rafa Benitez:

“We (Rafa and Mike Ashley) had the meeting in the past (early in the transfer window) and I talk with Lee Charnley every day…so they know my ideas.

“We (Rafa and his coaching staff) are trying to improve what we have at the moment, we are trying now but maybe it is a little bit late.

“I will try to be realistic and not optimistic or pessimistic,

“My idea was that at this stage of pre-season, everything would be completed, the team would be ready and you will have been working with your players for one month or whatever.

“That is not the case but we are (still) trying to improve the squad.

“Is it enough?

“I don’t think so.

“Is it enough to compete and try to win games?

“We will do it. With this team, we finished 10th, but the margin was very narrow.

“That was my point and we were ready (at the start of last season), we were working hard to do things the right way.

“We are where we are and will try to do our best to bring in the best players we can get (in these last few days) to improve the competition.

“Will it be more difficult than last year?

“I think so. Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff are spending money…everybody has spent some money.”



  • Hughie_Gallacher

    If Rafa is forced out of the club, I think he would have a decent case for constructive dismissal. If that happens, I hope he takes Ashley to the cleaners.

    • TheFatController

      Sadly, as with Keegan, it’s be the club, and not Ashley, in the dock again.

      I know he owns the club, but when it costs him money he just adds it to the debt and calls it an ‘interest free loan’. To himself.

      • Your mum

        A loan can only be repaid to the lender, so if a holding company lent NUFC £50m then that would have to be paid back to the holding company, regardless of interest. I don’t think an individual could loan with interest anyway. But it would make more sense for the loan to come from a company, that way it would reduce tax on profits as it would be seen as an expense and nufc could balance the books and pay it back as and when.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      The last two sets of Accounts show every penny spent and more so he would not win. Anyway he is paid well to do a job and has seventy million pounds worth of new talent at his disposal once the new lad comes in.
      Is Sean Dyche going to take Burnley to court.

      • Milo79

        How on earth have you worked out that Benitez has ‘£70 million of new talent at his disposal’?

        Two of the new players don’t belong to us. Schar cost £3m, Ki will be worth maybe £7m by the end of his two year deal and we could eventually get our £4m back on Dubravka when his four year contract is up.

        Is Muto going to turn out to be so talented that he fills the £56m gap in your evaluation?

        • Ben Jones

          Eh? So because the players are here on loan it means Rafa doesn’t have them at his disposal? And you choose to value the other players at what they’ll be worth nearing the end of their contract(although you claim we’ll get 4million for an out of contract player)

          You’ve completely skewed the facts to paint gloom, why do this?

          • Milo79

            I was disputing the £70m valuation and why this phantom number should be of any consequence to NUFC. I suspect its the previous poster’s way of saying that Rafa has somehow been afforded a great wealth of talent, and has no grounds to complain.

          • Ben Jones

            70m worth of talent at his disposal.

            You tell me what the true market value is for the players signed, are we really going along the route of a free transfer=player can’t be worth anything otherwise why was he free?

          • Milo79

            I’ve already given my opinion on what all six of those players might be worth in resale value, which is the only value that would matter to the club.

          • Ben Jones

            Fair enough, so you’re arguing that it would be folly to spend lots of money as in the future they are not worth much to the club? Or are you championing the clubs old policy of buying young talented players for their resale value? I’m interested in your view

          • Milo79

            A bit of both – I’m in favour of a prudent and balanced transfer policy, with transfer targets being careful and thoughtfully appraised to ensure value for money on and off the pitch. The current policy is clearly far too rigid and restrictive. I like that we don’t get our eyes taken out by other clubs but we should be able to compete and spend the required sums of cash when necessary. If £20m guarantees you a goalscorer who can be a servant to the club over several years, I’d say it’s a more prudent investment than spending £10m on a relatively unknown striker who could just as easily be a dud.

          • Ben Jones

            Can’t really disagree with much you’ve said there bud, the ‘guaranteed’ bit sits a little uncomfortably

          • Milo79

            Guaranteed was the wrong word but you know what I’m getting at…let’s hope Muto and Rondon do the business. Both sound like good characters.

          • Ram Kishore

            Milo’s resale value comments are bit contradicting..

          • Milo79

            I suspect it’s a deliberate attempt to distort the facts and make it seem like Rafa has been lavishly supported by the club in this transfer window.

        • Ram Kishore

          He’s basing the transfer market value of 6 players including Rondon who have come in.. i really think it doesnt matter if they.are on loan or not..They are available for the next whole season at the manager’s disposal.
          Not defending him.. just seeing his pov

          • Milo79

            Yeah but we’ve only spent £17m on these players, so to present that as having £70m worth of new talent sounds like a very deliberate distortion of our business this summer. The kind of spin Keith Bishop would be proud of. And I still can’t work out how those six players are worth £70m in any case.

          • Ram Kishore

            Yeah u r right .. the club’s management, hierarchy is so rotten.
            I have tried to be objective until now.
            Now i am really sick at this chaos going around at our club.
            I feel i have reached my limit..
            I’d hoped Rafa and club sorted out their problems by June.
            I seriously was a bit fed up with Rafa in the beginning.. i felt pre seasons are supposed to be lively even if we lose friendly matches ..
            But now fed up with this players bonus issue , the players are earning hood money , they could have solved it smoothly .. fed up with players now..
            The Southampton fan who posted the comment in the new article seemed very sensible. Get 45 points and then agree for a bonus

          • Milo79

            Yeah I sort of agree about the players. They get obscene amounts of money to kick a ball around once a week and a points total would probably be a decent incentive. That said, fatty also needs to honour his commitments to his employees. The way things are shaping up, we run the risk of a really nasty and mutinous atmosphere developing throughout the club. Roll on Saturday!

    • panther

      wont be Ashley who pays itll be the club

  • Your mum

    I’m sure every manager in the PL would have wanted a complete squad a month before the PL kicks off, but how often does that happen?

    We just have to back Rafa and the team, we don’t want our protests against ashley to have a negative impact on the team. Hopefully hard work and some of Rafa’s magic will be enough again this season.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Negative impact protesting, as opposed to Ashley withholding bonus payments & not sorting them out? Same s*** different toilet

      • Your mum

        Ashley will not be negotiating the bonus payments. it’s just poor journalism to suggest so. If the players only play for a bous then hey should not be at NUFC, the players we have play for rafa and the badge, a bonus should just be that, a bonus.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          It’s their job I’d play better if I had an incentive like say….a bonus

          • Your mum

            So you’re on £82k/wk and you’d play better for a £100k bonus. Really?

          • Ram Kishore

            Yah u r right.. but we really have no idea why the players have not talked ..
            Chronicle has no idea in many issues with our club being so closed to media

      • Kneebotherm8

        The greedy fat twt withholds bonus payments every year….the players are/should be entitled to receive incentive bonuses every year……..just like every other premier league squad……..nothing unusual in those demands ffs………if they’d been his fckn managers doon at Shirebrook etc hiring and firing zero hour contract staff at the drop of a hat…….they’d be well rewarded with bonus payments…….just like those cnts are……

        • SuperDesHamilton

          It’s all a big game to fatty. His pals on here say he won’t be in charge of bonuses, but he’s in charge of releasing transfer funds so he’s in charge when it suits their narrative. No wonder we can’t anyone decent when we won’t spend & treat people disgracefully

          • Kneebotherm8

            It was reported last pre season that Lascelles spoke to the fat twt personally to get the bonuses sorted out……….makes you wonder whether the players won’t have him fighting their corner in a couple of days time………

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Lad I know works at the toon, said Lacelles and his agent have already said they want to leave & it’s all down to the lack of ambition by fatty. Lacelles words were something to the degree of what’s the point in this club all it’s doing is existing. A can’t blame him either.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Neither could I………..

          • SuperDesHamilton

            A said this last week and got slated for daring to give all our fans a bit info

      • Ram Kishore

        The bonus thing is poor journalism imo too.
        The club isn’t stupid to do that again this season..If they had agreed to a structure last season , they may follow it in the same way.. which seems really a favour to the players.. for every one position one million..
        The players aren’t that crazy to show the displeasure this way.. Chronicle may have either wrote it for views or poor source..
        Chronicle’s stance has changed a bit.. too many Ashley articles..

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      Any effective protest is bound to have a negative impact on the team
      You know what the alternative is.

    • panther

      very often at any other club

      • Your mum

        Name 5 that aren’t looking to buy then between now and the window.

        • panther

          they have their essentials in, looking at squad/rotation at this stage

  • Paul Patterson

    Why is our idiot of an owner deliberately sabotaging the clubs potential? It can’t be by accident or incompetence surely. The manager is doing most of the work only for deals to either fall down or be blocked outright.
    If the owner is that intent on not spending a fair amount then clear off and let someone else have a go at making a success of it or screw it up. It has to be better than this charade . .
    #Wheresthemoneygone

    • Your mum

      He’s trying to get out, he’s trying to maximise his profit, MA know’s this is not sustainable and if he holds on to the club he will have to invest next summer which would put a dent in his profits. So he has to sell this year.

    • Wezza

      Pure spite. He has already made hundreds of million off us so he can ‘have fun’ I’m guessing we are finding out what Llambias meant when he said ‘you don’t know how horrible we can be’.

    • ghostrider

      He’s not sabotaging the clubs potential.
      Before he took over the club had no potential.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Well Rafa lad, that’s what happens at a club that’s properly ran you see.

    Proper planning etc…what the hells that?! Something we can only dream of with fatty in control

    • Your mum

      Would you agree then that Spurs are ran poorly?

      • Billmag

        Don’t even put the spuds in the same bracket, how many points did they finnish in front of us they have built a brand new ground that’s called progress something your hero knows seees FA about.

        • Your mum

          I completely agree, but the point above was about planning and buying players. Spurs have signed less than us. Same with burnley.

          • Billmag

            But my point being both teams finnished above us, Burnley is in a European competition and have just equaled our transfer record by signing Gibson.

          • Ben Jones

            Just signed Gibson, just, is that by design or bad planning on their behalf?

            (Just as in ‘only him’ and just as in ‘only yesterday late in the window’)

          • Your mum

            Which is a very good signing for them, but you can’t say it is bad planning for us by not having all our players in place now and others are planned to perfection when they are still buying players regardless of where hey finished.
            The selling clubs have to sell too, just look how long it took for us to sell Mitro, we wanted rid a year ago and it still took weeks this window.

          • GlasgowMag

            I had mentioned to you guys before if you want to have a discussion have it in your own house in Manchester or Shirebrook not on this platform!!🤔🤔😂😂😭😭

          • Your mum

            So Glasgow mag makes joke about those living miles away from SJP. Oh the irony. I live less than 3 miles from the stadium as the crow flies, so you cant be referring to me.

          • Billmag

            Once again twisting the comment, they have JUST beaten our long held transfer record.

          • Ben Jones

            I didn’t think I was(still dont) I thought this article was about the signings made and when they have been made, I thought my comment was pertinent to be fair

          • Billmag

            I was responding to the situation at Spurs and Burnley then you stuck your oar in.

          • Megatron1505

            Stop debating with blatant trolls ffs man.

          • Billmag

            Done.👍

          • Ben Jones

            Since you want to be a di ck, the article and the point of spurs and Burnley being brought up was because they have signed little to no one and they’ve left it late, that was what my point was also, you fella, because you don’t know what you’re talking about, have twisted this whole thing to be about where Burnley and spurs finished last season, why? Partly because you’re an idiot and partly because you’re a di ck, since you wanna be a di ck

          • Billmag

            Wow that’s a mouthful from a know nowt I think the other poster’s are correct and I have reviewed my position di ck of all di cks BLOCKED.

          • TheFatController

            Block him, I can recommend it.

          • Billmag

            Don’t really like blocking people but he’s defo a frustrating poster.

          • TheFatController

            Why not? They don’t respect anyone on here, what are they owed ?

          • Billmag

            Correct 👍

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Billmag just answered your question better than I ever could

  • fistsofsteel2

    Clearly Rafa still thinks Joselu is better than Mitrovic…….ho ho ho!

    • Your mum

      This is one thing i could never get my head round with Rafa, Joselu has never looked a Pl player.

    • Billmag

      He’s gone FFS get over it.

    • TheFatController

      Well, the purchase of two strikers suggests Rafa sees Joselu as third striker.

      Which is what he was last season.

      Don’t worry, you’d just forgotten that hadn’t you.

  • mactoon

    I think that statement just about sums up Ashley’s approach and ‘ambition.

    “Newcastle have sold a striker for £22m (could rise to £27m) and yet the manager isn’t allowed to shop at that same level for a replacement”

    • Your mum

      The reason is that we will be paid in instalments, he wants us to spend what we have in the bank, not what we will have next summer. It’s all about making it attractive to buyers.

      • phildene

        There ain’t any buyers! It’s pureky Ashkeys nasty ways of simply not backing the manager and keeping the money which isn’t his to keep

        • Your mum

          You do know it doesn’t actually go to him, but the holding company.

          We don’t know if there are buyers or not, he will keep it under the radar next time, that’s for sure.

      • Down Under Mag

        There are no buyers, it’s manipulative B.S. to justify not spending.

        We pay up front and receive in installments because it makes the finances seem favourable for Ashley to refuse to spend money.

        As for not going to him? He owns the holding company, the debt has never redu ed and I would be surprised if it did this summer either…that despite a record TV deal and selling a lot of moneys worth and still no deal on the table for the players bonus scheme with only a few days left before the season kicks off.

        It’s a shambles and the money is just being hidden behind any justification Ashley can wangle. Rafa is too popular with fans and holds too much sway with them, Ashley doesn’t like this…especially when it involved the fans getting expectations up about building when all Ashley wants to do is sit comfortably in the lower half of the table while spending as little as possible and clouding over the financial situation with clever accountancy and smokescreen payments…

        • Your mum

          Yes he owns the company, but it is the companies money and not his personal money ‘to enjoy himself’, if he were to pay himself from that account he would be taxed on it and lose 50% of the money, which he won’t do.

          You can’ hide money anymore, NUFC and the holding comapanies will be squeaky clean, especially after HMRC sniffing round.

        • Megatron1505

          Your debating with a troll, why bother?

      • Superdooperhooper

        What about instalments from sissoko winjaldum townsend etc where’s all that gone?

        • Your mum

          Into running the club, the club made a huge loss in the championship season, Our wage bill now is way over £100m, that doesn’t leave much to play with. We pay average players too much, but it was the only way we could sign them.

          • Superdooperhooper

            We made 126m just on TV money alone last season not to mention gate money and shirt sales etc . Not doing too badly are we?

          • Your mum

            That was last season, what about the losses we made previously?

          • Superdooperhooper

            Oh the so called ‘accounting losses ‘? Yeah and Amazon and Google play it fair don’t they?

          • Your mum

            But these are not accounting losses, they are genuine losses from a reduction in revenue, everyone knows the PL is more lucrative.

            Google and Amazon etc are very different, they are not UK companies. ‘Fair’ is very subjective, but they do play it legally, which is all that matters really.

      • mactoon

        I know he will only spend what is in the bank but I doubt his incentive is the sale of the club, he’s hardly actively pursuing potential buyers. It’s about making it self-sufficient so he doesn’t have to put any more money in.

        Yes we will be paid in instalments but we will also be spending in instalments.

        We’ve sold merino, Sels, Mbemba, and Mitro for a total of £42m

        We’ve bought Dubravka, Schar and Muto for a total of £17.5m

        That’s a lot more coming in than going out, and add to that the addition of this seasons instalments from Sissoko and Wijnauldum alone (£11m) we should at least be getting a striker in the same price bracket as Mitro £22-27m. instead of getting Rondon in on loan to fill a position we’ve needed to fill since Demba Ba was sold.

  • Toon River

    I love Rafa, but I wish he would just shut up and get on with it. I’m bored of reading this day in day out.

    • TheFatController

      You clearly don’t love Rafa or the club if you think the job of the club manager is to shut up and get on with allowing the hierarchy to undersell the loyalty and money of fans put into the club over decades to get it where it is now – big stadium and appeal to players and managers.

      Maybe get Pardew back and we can all pretend we’re serious about striving for Europe and cup semi finals and finals again?

      • Toon River

        Unlike you I’m a paying customer. If I was an armchair fan like you I could put up with it. But loyal match going fans are being drowned in this constant negativity before the season has even started

        • Billmag

          Rafa is striving for better players for you to watch.

          • TheFatController

            I don’t think they have the brain power to work that one out on their own.

        • TheFatController

          How do you know what sort of fan I am? What a bizarre assumption to make.

          Assuming has made an @ss of you, on this occasion.

          Stop bigging yourself up as some sort of ‘master race’ of supporter. Makes you sound like you’re the only one would ever think of doing it.

  • Desree

    Still hope. For what?

  • fistsofsteel2

    The issue with Newcastle is we are never going to cough up more than £20million for a player – and in today’s market that means we’ll only be buying players of the quality we already have. Thus we’re not actually improving the squad with ‘better’ players……we’re just filling it with more of the same quality players. Ashley could have bought ten £10million players in the window but it wouldn’t see our league placing improve. To do that you need to be buying a few players worth at least £50million in the current market. It’s NEVER going to happen.

    • TheFatController

      That all makes no sense.

      It’s about buying the best player that does the job the manager requires for how he wants to play.

      That might mean £10m or £100m, which is why some clubs pay both levels of fee.

      Rafa can’t buy the players he identifies as ideal, that’s the problem, let alone that we end up sifting the bargain basement for make dos.

      As buying Wijnaldum, Thauvin and mitro showed Ashley, buying good level players for £13m often brings its own rewards in transfer fees two years or less down the line

      • fistsofsteel2

        Jeez! Course it makes sense. The levels of comprehension beggar belief.
        Are you aware the way the transfer market has turned over the last three (silly) seasons? Do you really believe Newcastle are going to start buying players valued at £30 / 40 / 50 million, or more? Because if you want a team that’s going to challenge for a top 5 league position that’s what needs to happen.
        Did you even read my post before you responded?

        We can keep buying players circa £13m – the same standard players we have. It won’t improve the team. Ashley might (will) sell

        anybody on if he gets a bit interest ‘two years down the line’. Any gain will only be spent on cheaper players hoping one or two come good to be sold again. In terms of the football / league position we’ll NEVER challenge. And the same would happen with a new owner. Newcastle are NOT a club who will invest big money to improve the team…………..it’s just not worth it.

        Do you really think Newcastle are the type of club who will pay ‘both levels of fee’ – £10m or £100m…..thus making them real contenders? We’re a mid table at best club – get use to it.

  • The BBC is FAKENEWS

    Nearly everyone has spent some money