When asked about his approach to the January transfer window, Rafa Benitez has already hinted that he will not have much money to spend – suggesting that he might have to find someone ‘similar’ but ‘cheaper’ than his first choice targets.
Whilst he was handed seven new signings over the summer, the club failed to deliver a proven goalscorer, a number 10 or a left-back, with us ending the window with a net spend of minus £20m.
Few are expecting Ashley to loosen his purse strings in January (unless we’re in serious trouble by then), even if the winter window could be his final chance to convince Benitez to sign a new deal – with his contract expiring next summer.
Here’s what Rafa’s had to say when speaking to The Chronicle today, suggesting that he may have to search for bargains once again:
“The first thing you are looking for is the right quality.
“After that the position and characteristics you are looking for.”
“Sometimes you can go to a player but you have to find somebody similar.
“They may be at another team or be cheaper.
“If they are similar you ask: Can they can do a job for you?
“You have to analyse all those things. After that, it depends where you are…
“But it is about the character of the player.
“If you are at the bottom of the table you can’t bring in a player who can’t fight, so you have to know as much as you can about each player and make a decision.”
Considering things MUST change if Rafa will be convinced into signing a new contract, these words are worrying.
A ‘transfer summit’ set to take place between Charnley, Benitez and the club’s scouts this week, but you can’t help but feel it’ll be the same old same – even if there was indications yesterday that Ashley was keen to find out what Rafa wants.
It’s not all about transfers, though. The Chronicle insist that Benitez is keen to improve the Academy and U-23 set up – which is no surprise when you see our U-18’s were beaten 8-0 (yes, EIGHT) by Derby County on Monday.