During a piece reflecting on some of the players we missed out on this summer, The Chronicle’s Chris Waugh claims that Alassane Plea was Rafa Benitez’s ‘top target’ and a player he was ‘confident’ of signing at one stage – only for us to refuse to up our offer.
We’ve ended up with Salomon Rondon on a loan deal – a player that is said to have featured high on Rafa’s wish list – however it seems like it was in fact the former Nice striker who Rafa wanted above all else.
He confirms that the club made a £20m bid to sign Plea, but it seems Borussia Monchengladbach showed a ‘greater willingness’ to get a deal done with Nice – with us ‘reluctant’ to up our offer for the 25-year old.
Here’s what The Chronicle’s Chris Waugh had to say about our half hearted attempt to sign Rafa’s number one target when reflecting on some of the summer deals that got away:
“Newcastle bid £20m for Plea – who was Benitez’s top striker target – and, at one stage, appeared confident they would sign the forward..
“But Borussia Monchengladbach showed a greater willingness to negotiate with Nice and, with United reluctant to up their asking price, Plea moved to Germany.”
In the end, Plea cost Bundesliga side Monchengladbach just TWO million pound more than the £20m bid we lodged earlier in the summer, showing just how unwilling Ashley and co. were to stretch that little bit further and sign the striker Rafa was wanting.
Considering our net spend was a pitiful MINUS £20M, it makes you wonder how on earth the board could justify their decision not to back Benitez on this one.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to have Rondon and think he will do surprisingly well, but the fact it’s only a loan deal probably sums up the sort of approach Rafa was forced to take once again this summer.