Rafa Benitez has hinted that Newcastle are ‘wasting time’ when it comes to securing new signings this summer, suggesting that the club must be more decisive in the market and ‘make sure’ they sign a player once he’s been identified as a target.
This sounds absolutely bang on based on what we’ve seen both this summer and across several other transfer windows recently.
We have a knack of naming several ‘targets’, drawing up shortlists and lodging enquiries, only to shy away from making firm bids and showing real intent when it comes to actually getting the said deal done.
Yes prices are inflated, but Rafa’s comments here seem to hit the nail on the head when it comes to our apparent approach to transfers under Mike Ashley.
Here’s what he’s had to say when asked about our summer so far and approach to transfers:
“It is difficult because the prices have gone very high for everyone. Some people say: ‘Oh the deadline is the problem’. It’s not.
“If you are ready and you do what you have to do there is plenty of time. It’s just to be sure when you go for a player you make sure you sign him.
“You don’t want to waste too much time so you know more or less then you go (for it) and that’s it.”
Notice Rafa is refusing to use the early transfer deadline as a potential excuse further down the line – and rightly so.
This line is also telling – ‘It’s just to be sure when you for a player you make sure you sign him’ – and it can be applied to our attempts to sign Nice’s Alassane Plea and Salomon Rondon.
According to the Chronicle, we bid £20m for Plea (good few million short of Nice’s alleged asking price) and also made an offer for Rondon last week – which sums up our tedious, penny-pinching approach given his release clause is set at £16.5m.
Both bids were probably never likely to be accepted and it seems as though we’ve not returned with any improved offer since – highlighting our uncanny ability to ‘waste time’ as Rafa refers to above.
This to me sums up what Rafa’s getting at here. If we know the price and we know Rafa wants them, why waste precious time putting in offers that we know full well will not be accepted. And why did it takes weeks and weeks for us to make our first cash bid?
Some will says it’s all a ploy from Ashley to avoid spending money, but it’s also a very dangerous game to play if he’s actually serious about keeping the Spaniard (his biggest asset) at the football club.