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Opinion

Rafa Benitez can raise £70m with these Newcastle United player sales in the summer

3 years ago
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Rafa Benitez faces a massive few months.

The Newcastle United boss deciding whether or not to commit further to the club when his contract ends.

Everything of course revolving around Mike Ashley and how he treats the manager, the commitments he is willing to make.

Transfer funds for the first team squad are obviously the biggest issue and the freedom to spend them as he sees fit.

However, in terms of creating a pot of money, there are factors going in favour of both Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley.

Back in summer 2016 we saw probably the biggest squad change around for some years, if not ever.

A mixture of players out of contract, some not good enough and others desperate to leave, meant Rafa Benitez cleared out the following (as well as others such as Saivet out on loan):

Obertan, Marveaux, Taylor, Coloccini, Townsend, Cisse, Wijnaldum, Thauvin, Cabella, Doumbia, de Jong, Mbabu, Bigirimana, Krul, Janmaat and Sissoko.

For Rafa Benitez to stick around at Newcastle United into the 2019/20 season and beyond, I think he will need two things minimum.

To be backed with a pot of money to fund a squad overhaul AND be allowed to spend a transfer budget as he sees fit.

I see no reason why the money should not be available, unless Mike Ashley decides otherwise.

You look back four years ago to the 2015/16 season and over £80m was allowed to be spent on seven players (Mitrovic, Mbemba, Wijnaldum, Thauvin, Saivet, Townsend and Shelvey).

Then the following summer (summer 2016), over £50m was spent on that squad overhaul in the Championship.

A pot of around £100m shouldn’t be unrealistic, with the following players able to generate around £70m inn transfer fees, leaving a modest £30m to be added from the TV money. Plus of course the wages that would be freed up if most/all of the players below moved on.

Listed below is how much I think realistically could be demanded in terms of a transfer fee, then the age of the player by the time next season kicks off and how long they have left on their NUFC contracts when we get to the end of this current season:

£0 Rob Elliot (33 – One year)

£6m Ciaran Clark (30 – Two years)

£15m Jonjo Shelvey (27 – Two years)

£8m Ayoze Perez (26 – Two years)

£2m Joselu (29 – One year)

£4m Karl Darlow (28 – One year)

£4m Christian Atsu (27 – Two years)

£0 Rolando Aarons (23 – Two years)

£0 Achraf Lazaar (27 – Two years)

£15m Dwight Gayle (28 – Two years)

£6m Jacob Murphy (24 – Two years)

£0 Henri Saivet (28 – Two years)

£10m Isaac Hayden (24 – Two years)

Only one of the 13 listed above has started more than 12 of the 29 Premier League games this season, so not exactly as though Rafa has been relying on them.

The exception is Ayoze Perez but with only four goals and one assist this season in the league, it looks obvious that Rafa will be looking for somebody in the mould of a right-footed Almiron to replace Perez, with some pace and more goals and creativity.

Isaac Hayden has hit form but still needs to leave due to family issues.

Whilst Jonjo Shelvey is no longer a certain first team choice and doesn’t look as though he fits in with Rafa’s now preferred three centre-back system and the need for more mobile central midfielders who will run with the ball and get up and down the pitch.

With prices paid these days, £15m for Dwight Gayle is a more than fair valuation for a player who can guarantee any ambitious promotion club a lot of goals in the second tier.

None of the players above have more than two years left on their contracts and difficult to see any/many getting extensions to those deals, so another reason to sell.

Whilst for others (Lazaar, Aarons, Saivet etc), simply a case of moving then on for no/minimal transfer fee to get their wages off the books.

Time to let Rafa Benitez made the big moves in the transfer market he needs to make, if Newcastle United are to progress.

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