Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez's long-term future in doubt

Rafa Benitez must sell to buy at Newcastle United this summer '“ and that has thrown his long-term future into fresh doubt.

Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 7:45 am
Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid

The Magpies have signed three players – Kenedy, Ki Sung-yueng and Martin Dubravka – so far this summer, and Benitez is looking to add up to five more players to his squad before the transfer window closes on August 9.

The problem for the Spaniard is that he is having to finance much of his summer business by moving players out of St James’s Park.

Asked if he needed to sell to buy, Benitez said: “It seems it is more or less like that.

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“(I have) to manage the players who have value in the market and see if we can find some players at the right price. It’s not ideal, but we’ll try to manage the best way possible. I was expecting maybe something different, but we will manage what is going on and try to be sure that we bring the best players possible with the conditions we have and try to improve the squad.”

Owner Mike Ashley pledged to back Benitez – entering the last year of his contract – with “every penny generated by the club” following last season’s 10th-place finish.

Newcastle banked more than £123million from the Premier League last season. Asked if he found it strange that there was no money, Benitez said: “I don’t do the numbers.”

Asked if he could improve his squad with a shoestring budget, the Spaniard said: “I hope so. I have been trying hard for two months to be sure we have players to bring in on loan.

“If you don’t act quickly, then you lose the opportunity, and the next player is more difficult and the next maybe doesn’t have the same quality.

“Sometimes you have to wait and sign the player that’s available and make sure this player is giving everything.”

Ashley wants Benitez to sign a contract extension.

Benitez, however, will wait before discussing his future. The 58-year-old could reluctantly leave next summer.

Benitez, speaking at the Magpies’ training camp in Ireland, said: “I don’t think it’s an issue with my contract. I told Mike and (managing director) Lee Charnley and Justin (Barnes, an Ashley associate).

“They know that if we do the right things then I’m keen to stay here for five years or whatever.

“If you want to sign an extension for a lot of years, the main thing has to be the Academy, for example. You have everything in place.”