According to Rafa Benitez, the morale around St James Park demanded a strong summer in the transfer market, reports The Chronicle.
The Magpies manager said,
“I said in a lot of interviews this group of players have been very good professionals, but, when a player doesn’t have that desire then we need to move him on to another club. It affects moral and atmosphere in the group and that can be damaging.”
The immediate assumption is that he is referring to the likes of Janmaat, Townsend, Sissoko and Wijnaldum, a view given credence when he went on to talk about those who he deemed not to be good enough.
In some respects those players could have been as damaging to morale as the egotists. Not good enough in Rafa’s eyes, their demotivation may have been apparent in training and that dissatisfaction can be as detrimental to the squad as wanting to leave. In the end, it’s the same thing from a different angle.
It’s the toughest aspect of the manager’s job, moving players on. It is after all, their livelihood. But I think the club can be pleased of the way they have handled themselves, certainly from the public information we have. There were few, if any, bad words or utterances of frustration as a result of Newcastle’s actions other than demanding buyers meet the fee we set.
Benitez went on to say:
“But after the relegation and the atmosphere you could sense, we needed to make sure that we were strong in every position and that we had the right players and the right characters with experience for the Championship.”
Job done, I’d say.