Rafa Benitez has declared that the club have developed a new improved scouting department, aiming to keep on top of the foreign markets in a bid to bring exciting but affordable talent to NUFC this summer – a sign that he is planning to remain at the club for some time yet.
As we know, the English market has got out of hand in recent windows. Just a few years ago you could bring in a 15-goal striker for £10-£15m, but now you’d have struck gold to pay double that for anyone remotely proven in the top division.
See Watford’s Andre Gray – a striker who cost the Hornets £20m despite scoring a modest 9 goals in his debut Premier League season for Burnley.
In light of this, Benitez has revealed the clubs plans to combat these ‘expensive markets’, with him sounding anything but ready to walk away at the end of the season based on his plans for the summer here:
“We have improved and changed the scouting department a little bit in terms of moving people around.
“We have a lot of systems now with stats.
“We see games on TV and also have people travelling around Europe and travelling around the world, it depends on the player.
“We have enough scouts in Europe and we now have two scouts in Spain.
“There are a lot of players.
“The main thing now is the prices of the players and you need to know the markets because if you go to the English market it’s very expensive.
“Germany may be expensive too. So you need to know the market well.
“It’s not even possible to go to the ‘cheaper’ countries because they can be expensive sometimes.
“We have to go to countries that have players that for years have been doing well.”
Benitez will require Ashley to pull his sleeves up if he is to stay on at St James’ Park in the months to come, but I sense here that Rafa is very much focused on his project at NUFC. It’s obviously not going in the direction he would’ve hoped it would, but there’s a feeling here that he’s ready to compromise (with him suggesting how we’ll have to look at the foreign markets to bring in hidden gems opposed to spending silly money on over-priced Premier League players).
Rafa then continued, stating that he and his scouting team will be ‘watching all the time’ ahead of this summer’s World Cup – suggesting that will be another inevitable opportunity to talent spot for the club:
“We have a lot of information already.
“All the scouts watch a lot of games during the week which is what they have done from day one, it’s very common.
“We’ve got the World Cup coming up and other tournaments.
“Of course, the majority of teams also have that.
“But we have the stats and TV so we are watching all of the time.”
With Graham Carr long gone and a new team in place (including two new scouts deployed in Spain), it sounds like Rafa is taking a firm grip on this new scouting system at the club – a sign that he’s planning for the long-term at NUFC despite the uncertainty around his future?