Rafa Benitez has admitted that he was pushing to sign a centre-back, a left-back and a number 10 on deadline day – but has since conceded that ‘you can’t sign everything’ having only managed to bring in Swansea’s Federico Fernandez.
With us now facing a nervous wait to see if Yedlin’s knee injury is as bad as first feared, our inability to sign a new left-back could be costly – with our only option to cover Paul Dummett (Javier Manquillo) now likely to fill in for the American away to Cardiff on Saturday.
When asked about our activity (or lack of it in the end) on deadline day, here’s what he’s had to say when speaking to the press after Saturday’s defeat to Spurs:
“The position we were looking at in defence was the centre-back and the left full-back. They are the two positions.
“Then the No 10 was another position we were looking for.
“You cannot sign everything, so at least try to protect yourself and make sure you have enough options with experience, and with the right level to be able to compete in the Premier League.”
He was then asked if the risk of injuries (which we’ve now suffered in the form of DeAndre Yedlin) was one of the main reasons behind his plea for cover in these areas:
“That [injuries] was one of the main worries, and it was why we knew we had to bring in Fernandez.”
In fairness, Rafa seems quite content with Fernandez and I get the feeling the board finally buckled on this one (I imagine they weren’t keen to pay £6m for a man nearing 30 initially), however it will be a case of ‘I told you so’ when it comes to our issues at full-back following Yedlin’s injury.
Nevertheless, Rafa sounds focused on events on the pitch – and that’s both good and refreshing to hear after a summer of well documented frustration.
With that in mind, here’s what he had to say when asked about the joint statement released on his, Lascelles and Lee Charnley’s behalf last Friday:
“If you read what we said, it is not something different to what I was saying [in the pre-match Press conference on Friday].
“We have finished the transfer window, and we have to concentrate on doing the right things for the club and the team.”
Time to focus on football – although you sense a left-back and number 10 will be high on Rafa’s agenda when the January window opens..
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