According to the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, Rafa Benitez is now aware of his transfer budget and is set to be handed something ‘close to last season’s summer spending’ – meaning he could receive just £40-45m, plus money from player sales.
This is a real concern. Last summer was pretty unbearable (both for us and Rafa Benitez), seeing us end up scrapping for bargain basement buys late in the window and failing to secure any major signings.
This time around we need a proven striker (or two), should be pushing to sign Kenedy and need cover in several other areas, but bringing in players in these three areas seems impossible if Rafa’s going to be given the sort of money he was last summer.
Q – “Does Rafa even know his budget yet? I know it’s still very early days, but given it’s World Cup year & window ends sooner i’d imagine Rafa wants to do business even earlier – yet there seems to be little movement..”
“Rafa is aware of his budget now and it’s quite modest. He knows he will have to sell a few players to top up his funds.
“Obviously, how much he has is a closely guarded secret but I believe it to be close to last season’s summer spending.
“With the transfer deadline set to come in August you are right to suggest Rafa wants his business done early.
“The clock is ticking and other teams have made some rapid progress on United already.”
To make it worse, Lee later admitted that Rafa is ‘already frustrated’ after our slow start to the window made it feel like another repeat of last summer could be on the cards.
He also claimed that Rafa wanted the ‘bulk of his signings’ done by pre-season – however that now looks so unlikely when that is just a few weeks away (especially when the World Cup is about to start – being something that won’t make things any easier).
Here’s what Lee said in response to further questions about Rafa and the club’s lack of activity in the opening few weeks of the transfer window:
“It is looking like a repeat because I know that Rafa is already frustrated.
“He wants the bulk of his signings in for pre-season but with that just around the corner on July 2, that could be difficult now.
“Rafa has a good idea of how things work at United now so compared to last year he is probably disappointed but not surprised.
“I think there will be signings but the chances are that Rafa will never be convinced that the club share his ambitious vision.”
Very frustrating and quite unbelievable really. Looking back, it was perhaps understandable that we couldn’t spend TOO much last summer after still feeling the effects of relegation, but to offer Benitez the same sort of budget this summer is just baffling.
A penny for Rafa’s thoughts.