According to The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, Rafa Benitez had lined up deadline day deals for Liverpool’s Ragnar Klavan and Stoke’s Erik Pieters – only for the board to make little effort to get either deal done, claiming they didn’t fit the ‘club’s criteria’.
Whether you think these would’ve been good buys or not is irrelevant – It’s another clear sign that Rafa Benitez is being ignored by the board.
In the end, the signing of Fernandez meant that a deal for Liverpool centre-back Klavan was not needed, however this just highlights how little Benitez is being listened to – even when he was desperate for new signings at the 11th hour.
I for one and glad we got Fernandez over Klavan – and I imagine Benitez is too in the end – however the fact we offered just £2m for Pieters because the 30-year old did not fit in with the club’s transfer policy is just pathetic.
Benitez had made it clear all summer that cover at left-back was needed, with Dummett being our only senior player in the position, yet the board ignore his demands and instead put in ‘cheeky’ offers with ours left to spare – knowing full well that it’d be rejected.
Here’s what The Chronicle had to say on Rafa’s attempts to sign the Liverpool and Stoke duo on deadline day – suggesting Mike Ashley was not prepared to sanction deals for either:
“Rafa Benitez wanted to add Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan and Stoke City’s Erik Pieters to his squad before the transfer window closed for business.
“However, United weren’t believed to be willing to release funds for the 6ft 2in Estonia international because at 32 he wasn’t deemed to fit into the club’s criteria.
“It is understood that Benitez felt that Klavan would have offered cover at both centre-back and left-back for the long season ahead.
“Pieters is believed to have been the subject of a £2million bid from United but sources in the Potteries say the offer was dismissed as a “cheeky one” by relegated Stoke.”
Yes we may have bid £2m for Pieters in the end, but there was no way on earth Stoke were going to let their first-choice left-back leave for just £2m.
They may have eventually agreed to pay up for Federico Fernandez, but the fact they weren’t willing to back Benitez despite a net spend of minus £20m is just unacceptable.
I feel for Rafa and all fellow NUFC fans who’ve had to put up with yet another summer of frustration.
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