While Benitez refuses to talk about transfers (probably because he doesn’t yet know his budget!), Bournemouth have just gone and completed a deal that would smash our club record fee – signing Dominic Solanke for £19m.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think this is an obscene amount of money for an unproven talent who’s only scored ONE goal in 21 top flight appearances, but this just shows what we’re up against.
Bournemouth may have done brilliantly under Eddie Howe, but it’s a sign of the times when a club whose ground holds 10,000 are regularly outspending us – with Solanke’s arrival coming just months after the £25m signing of Jefferson Lerma and 18 months on from a £20m deal for Nathan Ake.
Looking at where we feature on this list below really does say it all – with newly promoted sides Huddersfield, Fulham and Wolves securing deals that immediately surpass the £17m we spent on Michael Owen over 12 years ago now.:
In fairness, this list consists of quite a few flops – showing how shrewd Rafa was to get the likes of Schar, Ki, Dubravka and Fernandez for a combined £10m – but Ashley’s insistence on signing bargains on the cheap can only last so long.
Rafa clearly wants £20m-rated playmaker Miguel Almiron signed in January, but the chances of Ashley sanctioning that seems close to 0, with history suggesting he doesn’t spend over £14m at any time – never mind in a January window where he’s ‘attempting’ to sell the club.