The piece states that he’s expected to receive ‘around £50m’ to spend (plus money from players sales if you believe various other reports), with him said to be focusing on the arrival of a striker, a winger, two-full backs, a central midfielder and a goalkeeper. This is a crucial development because sports betting sites such as http://www.sportsbetting24.ca will no doubt have us as one of the favourites for relegation next season should we not strengthen, and these odds will be shortened further if Rafa can’t be convinced to stay.
Interestingly, the story also claims the club are ‘very receptive’ to a deal for Brazilian forward Joelinton – despite the fact Rondon appears to be Rafa’s top target up top.
Here’s the opening few lines from Lee Ryder’s piece for the Chronicle, which reveals some of the key areas Benitez plans to strengthen IF he remains at St James’ Park:
‘Rafa Benitez will be looking to make at least SIX summer signings if he stays on to oversee a Newcastle United rebuilding project next summer.
‘The Toon boss has already hinted that United need to move quickly in the summer window in order to mount a top 10 challenge next season.
‘However, he has made it clear to managing director Lee Charnley that the current squad needs adjustments if they are to avoid another skirmish with relegation.
‘Benitez wants two new full-backs on either side of his defence and is believed to have underlined the need for a tall left-back in this month’s scouting summit.
‘The 59-year-old has also stated that Salomon Rondon needs to be signed on a permanent basis from West Bromwich Albion, and if that request can’t be met – a high quality proved striker must be added to his squad instead.
‘A new winger is also on his wish-list but the central midfield area is also a growing concern with Jonjo Shelvey, Mo Diame and Isaac Hayden all prepared to quit Tyneside in the close season.
‘Benitez will also look closely at his goalkeeping department this summer and with question marks above both Rob Elliot – who the Newcastle chief said he would be happy to sell last January – and Karl Darlow, who still hasn’t agreed a new deal, an experienced stopper could be needed as back-up to Martin Dubravka.’
The piece then goes on to suggest just how much Rafa may be given to spend if he stays this summer, also commenting on a potential deal for heavily linked Hoffenheim star Joelinton:
‘A spending pot of around £50million is expected to be made available to Benitez, and there has been talk of a marquee signing in the pipeline to help woo Benitez into penning a new deal.
‘Indeed, United are still understood to be very receptive to a deal for Brazilian star Joelinton of Hoffenheim if a payment package for the £40million man can be thrashed out between the club and his agent.
‘Benitez is not fully against the arrival of Joelinton, but would like assurances on how the rest of the spending kitty will be spent.’
One worry here is quite how he manages to do all of the above with £50m. OK, it may be £50m plus cash from player sales, but any ‘marquee signing’ and the arrival of Rondon or Joelinton would take a huge chunk out of that budget – and we clearly need to improve several first-team areas.
They key will be allowing Benitez to spend it as he sees fit. I’m sure he’s happy to sign several players under the age of 26 (something Ashley often requests), but if he’s not allowed to bring in experience or signing Rondon permanently, there could be big problems.