Rafa Benitez – You will win nothing with kids at Newcastle United, unless…
With only four weeks to go until the final match of is current contract, Rafa Benitez has explained how you need to approach squad strengthening at Newcastle United.
The NUFC manager detailing what his experience tells him that needs to happen.
The bottom line is that Mike Ashley’s idea of only buying young players who might increase in value, is as sure of failure as the last time Ashley insisted on it, using puppet managers such as Pardew and McClaren, with eventual relegation the direct consequence of pursuing such a daft policy.
In summer 2015, after Newcastle avoided relegation on only the final matchday of the previous season, Mike Ashley did allow just over £50m to be spent on four players.
However, none of them had ever played in the Premier League before, all came from far weaker leagues, with ages of two 20 year olds (Mitrovic and Mbemba), a 22 year old (Thauvin) and a 24 year old (Wijnaldum).
It was a disaster and a fatally flawed transfer policy to pursue only young inexperienced players from foreign leagues.
Rafa Benitez explaining ‘If you want to win something, if you want to win trophies, then in my experience you need experience…’
It isn’t rocket science, if you have a struggling team and only bring in young inexperienced players, the odds are much more highly stacked against success.
As Rafa points out, there is one exception but it doesn’t have any bearing on Newcastle United ‘…(unless) you have all the best young players in the world but we can’t [have that at Newcastle United].’
If you could go out and buy players such as Mbappe and others, then obviously it would be a different matter.
However, at Newcastle the Spaniard has been frequently blocked from making signings due to age, with the frequent message from the Mike Ashley camp being that more money would/could be available, if Rafa Benitez is willing to restrict himself to players with a potentially high resale value.
Rafa has shown what great value for money he can get in defensive positions especially, with the likes of Dubravka, Schar, Lejeune and Fernandez all big successes.
However, even with older players, bringing in quality up front and in creative positions is still relatively expensive [compared to prices you can sometimes get away with in defence].
Salomon Rondon has become a pivotal figure for both Rafa’s and Newcastle’s future.
He has more Premier League goals (nine) and assists (five) than any other NUFC player this season, this is on top of his overall team play.
Mike Ashley thinks £16.5m is far too much for a striker who will turn 30 in September.
However, the reality is that if Rondon had this same profile but was 23 years old, his price would be £30m+ and zero chance of Ashley allowing that either.
Rafa Benitez clearly isn’t against buying younger players but his message is that it is clear common sense that you need to have a blend of players and be allowed to go for the right players, whatever their age, if they are available.
With the money that could/should be available, Salomon Rondon is a player that Newcastle should buy as he has already proved what job he can do. Then Rafa Benitez allowed to buy whoever thinks is the best fit to go alongside that purchase.
If Mike Ashley forces Rafa Benitez out, you can see the owner potentially then allowing more money to be spent on a young relatively untried striker in the hope that he might be worth a lot more in the future. A puppet manager brought in. the new young striker finding life tough in his first season at Premier League level, then the new Pardew/McClaren having to rely on the likes of Joselu instead.
At some point there needs to be significant investment in the squad and what better time to do that than when you have a top quality experienced manager who knows what he is doing and has a plan?
Rafa Benitez talking to the media on Thursday:
“If you want to win something, if you want to win trophies, then in my experience you need experience…
“….(unless) you have all the best young players in the world but we can’t [have that at Newcastle United].
“You need experience and at the same time you need the energy levels, determination and hunger that young players have.
“At Napoli for instance, we showed it is important to find that balance.
“We signing players with experience first: Mertens, Higuain, Albiol, Callejon.
“Insigne was already there and then after we signed Koulibaly and Jorginho, younger players.
“We were signing young [and not so young] players that had enough quality and then when you put them together with [the likes of older players such as Christian Maggio and Pepe Reina, then you have a good team.
“We have some experience and some youngsters [currently at Newcastle United] and the balance is good.
“Now what you have to do, is if you can replace some players with the right quality, you will increase the level [of the first team].”
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