The report does state that he’s preparing transfer targets for ‘whatever the budgetary constraints might be’, however this does raise a glimmer of hope that Benitez may still be planning for the long-term at NUFC – despite his current contract running out next summer.
It’s claimed that Rafa has already held discussions with head of recruitment Steve Nickson to assess our options in the new year, with it also mentioned that Rafa could look abroad with us still being able to complete one loan deal from overseas.
Here’s a snippet from Mark Douglas’ piece for The Chronicle:
‘Rafa Benitez has begun work towards the January transfer window and stocking Newcastle United’s squad further – despite the uncertainty that currently swirls above St James’ Park .
‘Benitez’s own future, Mike Ashley’s willingness to release funds and the club’s own direction are all unresolved but Benitez is understood to have held discussions with head of recruitment Steve Nicksonabout options for the New Year window – which was crucial to Newcastle’s survival last season, despite the Spaniard having to work on a shoestring budget.
‘There is a feeling that this year’s window may be just as critical to United’s hopes, with Benitez having failed to address several key areas during the summer window. The Spaniard accepts loan moves from overseas could be an option for Newcastle and continues to make enquiries with the hope that this time, United might act quicker than they have done in the last three windows.
‘Whether that is a sign of future planning at a club where he has only a few months left of his existing contract is not clear. But it raises at least a little bit of hope that Benitez’s vision for Newcastle remains a long-term one rather than just a short-term salvage job.
‘Benitez is understood to want to add another striker, a midfielder and a left-back in the window but, once again, is preparing options for whatever the budgetary constraints might be.’
Whether Rafa will be backed is open for debate, however he will no doubt be looking for a few signings that can give us the boost Kenedy and Dubravka gave us from January onwards in the 2017/18 season.
Another striker is mentioned (with us only having two options suited to the lone striker role in Rondon and Joselu) a midfielder may be essential if the home sick Isaac Hayden finally gets his move in January and a left-back is something we’ve needed for a long time – with Paul Dummett being our only senior play in that position.