It’s crazy, Rafa Benitez describes transfer market but Newcastle United want to buy not sell

Rafael Benitez speaks to the media after Lokeren 0 Newcastle 4
Rafael Benitez speaks to the media after Lokeren 0 Newcastle 4
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Rafa Benitez is hopeful of arrivals at Newcastle United – despite a “crazy” transfer market.

The Magpies have already signed six players this summer ahead of the big kick-off in the Championship at Fulham on August 5. But Newcastle – who sold Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool for £25million last week – are still short in key areas.

If someone comes with a right offer, we have to listen. But we don’t have to sell

RAFA BENITEZ

Newcastle, again linked with Fulham’s Ross McCormack, need to sign another striker, must replace Wijnaldum and also strengthen at the back following the departures of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor, who is close to signing for Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers.

However, boss Benitez has labelled the transfer market, inflated by the Premier League’s new multi-billion pound TV deal, as “crazy”.

Asked if there would be more signings, Benitez said: “Hopefully. We are working and trying to improve the squad.

“It’s not easy now. The market is quite crazy, no? Crazy prizes everywhere. We try to do our best.”

Newcastle, meanwhile, will stick to their £35million valuation of Moussa Sissoko.

A clutch of clubs, reportedly including Real Madrid, are weighing up moves for the unsettled midfielder.

Benitez insisted after Saturday’s 4-0 friendly win over Sporting Lokeren that the Tynesiders were prepared to “disappoint” one or more players waiting for a “big offer”.

Asked about speculation over Sissoko, Benitez said: “If someone comes with a right offer, we have to listen. But we don’t have to sell. We will try to keep a strong squad.

“Some players, maybe, will be waiting for a big offer (from) a top side in the Premier League or in Europe, but if they have to stay, they have to stay. That’s it. They will be disappointed, but we are disappointed because we are in the Championship.”

The black and whites eased to a 4-0 victory over Belgian club Lokeren on Saturday, with Ayoze Perez netting two fine goals.

For the first, Perez put the ball through an opponent’s legs before playing in Rolando Aarons, who ran to the byline. Perez continued his run and met Aarons’ cross at the near post to give his team a 13th-minute lead.

The second, scored late in the half, was even better.

A ball forward from Jack Colback was flicked backwards by Dwight Gayle, and Perez struck with a crisp, first-time effort.

Daryl Janmaat and Jonjo Shelvey also scored for Newcastle. Makeshift winger Janmaat headed home a free-kick, then second-half substitute Shelvey struck with a deflected shot.

Not much else happened, though Jesus Gamez was sent off late on for tangling with Marko Miric.

“There is plenty of room for improvement,” said Benitez, who did not defend Gamez’s actions. “I’m happy, but still we need to give more. I have seen an improvement in some things, but still I would like a bit more.”

Newcastle visit Southend tomorrow night in their penultimate friendly.

Newcastle: Sels (Darlow 72); Sterry (Gouffran 63), Mbemba (Saivet 73), Lascelles (Dummett 63), Anita (Gamez 46); Hayden (Shelvey 46), Colback (Tiote 73); Janmaat, Perez (Mitrovic 46), Aarons (Thauvin 63); Gayle (Armstrong 63). Goals: Perez 13, 39, Janmaat 26, Shelvey 48. Attendance: 2,876