Rafa Benitez has admitted to calling Mike Ashley yesterday in a desperate attempt to secure signings before the window slams shut tonight – also making his frustrations known about the situation we are now in having been ‘working for months’ to make sure this didn’t happen.
The gaffer touched on transfers in his press conference earlier on yesterday, however his comments here are far more open and revealing, with him sharing the details of his conversation with Ashley and discussing the unideal situation we now find ourselves in.
You can read between the lines in a lot of what he says here. He’s not happy, but is still making every effort to make sure something happens today – despite having every reasons to be furious with the incompetence shown by Mike Ashley over the past month.
Speaking at lunchtime yesterday, Rafa said the following when speaking to the Independent:
“I have spoken to him today, a few hours ago,”
“We have been talking about everything. It is one month with targets, so we had plenty of targets to talk about. We have to talk, it is the way they like to do things.
“We have to do something before the end and then that’s it. Obviously everybody would like to see players early, but they are not here so we will try to do something in one day. We were talking about different options.
Benitez then admitted to his frustrations, stating how he’s been ‘working for months’, ‘preparing names’ and ‘analysing players’ yet we find ourself having missed out on all of his top targets, now scraping the barrel once again for players who probably didn’t even feature on his initial list of targets:
“It is not the ideal situation, when you have been working for months, preparing names and analysing players and then you go to January 1 with a list of players and then you start with the names, the main target that you have.
“After you have to go to the 31st and waiting for a phone call from someone else, it means that something is wrong, but we cannot change what is going on here for a while, what I can try is to do my best now.”
Rafa then admits that he can work with the club making a profit and ‘not creating a problem for the books’ (e.g spending bucket loads), being pragmatic as ever, however he admits here that it is ‘not the case’ that he has been asking for too much – suggesting that deals have been there to be done YET AGAIN, but the club have not backed him:
“In every single club I have been, normally I finish with profit, success and titles, or at least not creating a problem for the books. I understand what is going on in the market and I will try to find players early at the right price. If a player is too much I will not say, “Go for this one”. But, in this case, in this time, it has not been the case.
“At this time, which team will sell their top scorer? It’s very difficult. So what you have to do is be sure that you can bring someone that can help in one way or another way.
“I will not talk about specific names. We were working and preparing a list and now we are working with different names. We still have one day and we have to concentrate on the next game. Even if we don’t bring the first target or we bring the last name on the list, we have to try and win against Burnley, so that’s it.”
Some revealing comments here from Rafa, with these lines sticking out most to me:
“It is not the ideal situation, when you have been working for months, preparing names and analysing players and then you go to January 1 with a list of players and then you start with the names, the main target that you have.”
This says it all – Rafa spent ‘months’ working, preparing, analysing. He was ready on January 1st to do deals whilst Ashley was on holiday and unwilling to let Benitez even know his budget! Rafa had a list of targets, and a realistic list too you can bet, but the main targets have clearly all failed to materialise.
“I understand what is going on in the market and I will try to find players early at the right price. If a player is too much I will not say, “Go for this one”. But, in this case, in this time, it has not been the case.”
Rafa admits here that he’ understands the market and knows we must find players for the right price. He gets it, but he admits that ‘in this case’ it has not been the case – basiscally admitting that Ashley and co. have no excuse here.
He hasn’t been backed and, with just hours to go, he’s now forced to scrape the barrel for Joselu and Manquillo-esque buys..