Boss Rafa Benitez reveals his ‘ideal situation’ at Newcastle as he plots his summer transfer business

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez.
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Rafa Benitez believes it’ll be easier to sell Newcastle United to signings this summer.

The club secured its Premier League status last month. And Benitez and Steve Nickson, the club’s head of recruitment, have drawn up lists of potential targets ahead of the summer transfer window.

“We’re working on a list of players and analysing the squad and trying to be ready for anything,” said Benitez, speaking ahead of this afternoon’s game against Watford at Vicarage Road.

Two years ago, Benitez had to persuade some players to drop down a division to play in the Championship.

And last summer some targets were reluctant to join a newly-promoted club.

“The difference is that I remember talking to a couple of players and the Championship is more difficult (to sell to players) when you have a chance in the Premier League,” said Benitez.

“So now I think we will have more chances to do what we want to convince players to come here.”

Asked how many players he needed in the summer, Benitez added: “I think it’s too early to stay that.

“We still have three games to play, and I would like to see the best from my players.

“After that, if we want to compete, we need to bring in some players. We need competition. We have a squad of 24 players, we need to make sure we have as much of this 24 that they can start and play well in the Premier League.

“The ideal situation is to have around 22 players, maybe, and then three players from the Academy that have the potential to do well.

“That’s the ideal situation.

“Can we do that? I don’t think we can do that at the moment. So we have to manage.

“Some of the players that are already here are young players and didn’t know the Premier League, so they will be better players next year if they continue working in the way they have been working.

“But, at the same time, you need some players with experience that they can manage these bad runs and situations where you’re panicking.”