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Opinion

Rafa Benitez one step away from being able to name his own Newcastle United team

3 months ago
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Rafa Benitez will almost manage it at Burnley.

Probably just the one step away from it on Monday night.

Pretty sure he hasn’t come close before.

When it comes to naming a full Newcastle United team that he has signed.

That’s right, this next starting eleven could have been a full Rafa Benitez recruited team if Yoshinori Muto was available.

This is the likely team v Burnley:

Martin Dubravka (£4m)

DeAndre Yedlin (£5m)

Federico Fernandez (£6m)

Fabian Schar (£3m)

Javier Manquillo (£4m)

Matt Ritchie (£12m)

Mohamed Diame (£5m)

Ki Sung-yeung (£0)

Kenedy (Loan)

Salomon Rondon (Loan)

Ayoze Perez (£2m – Bought when Alan Pardew was manager)

So 10 of that team above recruited by Rafa Benitez for £39m, an average of less than £4m per signing.

Then you have the likely subs bench:

Christian Atsu (£6m), Ciaran Clark (£5m), Jacob Murphy (£10m), Joselu (£5m), Isaac Hayden (£4m), Achraf Lazaar (£3m), Karl Darlow (£4m – Bought when Pardew was manager)

Another six Rafa signings costing £33m, with Karl Darlow the odd one out.

Making it 16 Rafa Benitez signings out of the likely matchday 18 man squad, costing £72m for the 16 averaging £4.5m per signing.

Not bad going when you consider Rafa Benitez has only been allowed to buy players in three of the five transfer windows.

It also shows a couple of massive obstacles the manager has had to face in just over two and a half years at the football club.

Firstly, the sheer turnover of players as he had so many jumping ship after relegation and in particular, so many who weren’t good enough and/or had bad attitude.

Secondly, how little money he has had to spend in making such a transformation to the squad. How many other Premier League clubs have a team/squad full of £4m and £5m players?

This is the kind of thing where if the results go badly, the pro-Ashley media will be saying ‘well these are all players that Rafa Benitez signed…’

Which is true…but not exactly the players he would have chosen, with rare exceptions, if he’d had a realistic amount of money to spend.
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