Despite another day full of fanciful transfer links, the Chronicle have confirmed that Newcastle are STILL yet to bid for a single player this summer – with Lee Ryder admitting that the club are ‘not close to making a permanent signing’ as things stand.
It’s been reported recently that Rafa has been given a budget of around £40m (plus money from player sales), however the vast majority of the summer so far (aside from Dubravka’s arrival) has seen players linked with moves away, with little genuine activity with regards to incomings.
Elsewhere, there’s now signs that our Premier League rivals are picking up the pace and getting deals done. June is usually a slow month for transfers (and the market’s slowed even further by the World Cup), but potential rivals Wolves, West Ham and Huddersfield have all been making waves in the last few days – a sign that we need to get our skates on or risk being left behind yet again.
Wolves have signed Portugal’s number one stopper Rui Patricio. He may have arrived on a ‘free’ after cancelling his contract with Sporting, but there’ll have been big competition for his signature, and to sign a player of his pedigree is a real sign of their intentions (and spending power!).
Then to West Ham. Not only have they just announced the signing of highly rated French defender Issa Diop for a club record £22m fee, they look likely to break that record again with a £25m move for Lazio star Felipe Anderson.
They now have a top manager in Pellegrini, just as we do with Rafa, but there’s only one club between the two showing some sort of ambition. It may still go badly wrong at West Ham given the unpredictable nature of their owners, but Rafa could only dream of being given the license to spend this sort of money on these sort of players. Instead we’re yet to make a single bid for a player and the words ‘bargain basement’ are being used already.
Then finally, little old Huddersfield. I say ‘little old’ but they’re also threatening to leave us behind in the market the way they/we are going. They’ve recently confirmed the signing of Dutch international defender Terence Kongolo for an alleged £18m.
Like Kenedy, he arrived on loan in January and impressed, but they appear to have acted much quicker than us in a bid to get their man. Yes Kenedy is a difficult deal to do given interest from elsewhere and the uncertainty at Stamford Bridge, but do you think we’d have signed the Brazilian by now if we’d been told ‘he’s yours for £18m’ after the final day of the season? History suggests no.
We move too slowly, we’re reluctant to pay the going rates and we’re in serious danger of not only losing ground on our Premier League rivals, but Rafa himself.
Let’s hope things get better from here on in. There’s plenty time left to do business, but if reports are true that Rafa wanted ‘four or five’ in by the start of pre-season (less than two weeks time), then it looks like being another frustrating summer for Benitez.
If Ashley really is keen to see him commit to a new long-term contract, he’s got a funny way of showing it.