According to an exclusive from the Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, Rafa Benitez will refuse any new contract offers and leave Newcastle in the summer if the club don’t sign TWO players between now and deadline day.
The report states that Rafa named the two deals he was desperate to complete at the start of the month (Almiron and a left-back?), however the club are yet to land any of his targets once again – leaving him ‘close to breaking point’ with just 9 days of the window remaining.
To make matters worse, the piece states that there were hopes that a breakthrough would arrive this week – however ‘optimism has faded’ on that front already, with Rafa now appearing to have set an ultimatum to Mike Ashley.
Here’s a snippet from Luke Edwards’ pretty damning ‘exclusive’ for The Telegraph this afternoon:
Rafa Benitez is set to leave Newcastle United at the end of the season unless the club manage to give him the two signings he asked for at the start of this transfer window.
Benitez is desperate for transfers be made and gave the club a list of targets in December, with players in each position separated into different price brackets, but Newcastle are yet to land any of them.
Newcastle’s manager has refused to discuss transfers in public this month, but sources have told Telegraph Sport that he is reaching breaking point as we head into the final nine days of the window.
As a result, if the club refuse to listen to back him before the end of the month, he will reject all offers of a new contract and will quit at the end of the season.
The Spaniard’s preferred option is to remain on Tyneside, but he will feel that is impossible if he is not listened to again on the issue of recruitment. He has argued for more than a year that he needs to improve a squad that still relies heavily on the same players who won promotion from the Championship in 2017.
There were hopes that a transfer breakthrough would be made at the start of this week, but that optimism has faded as tension behind the scenes rises.
It’s been a long time coming and it seems Rafa is officially at breaking point – although the writing was already on the wall when we didn’t spend following promotion and failed to reinvest the Premier League cash Ashley clearly pocketed last summer (along with the Mitrovic fee!).
The Telegraph then touched on some of the players being discussed behind the scenes, but insists that ‘little – if any – progress’ has been made on deals – despite Rafa wanting new signing in at the START of the month:
An offer for Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron remains on the table, but it is well short of the American club’s £30m valuation. Newcastle are still hoping the MLS club reduce the asking price before the end of the month as they are the only Premier League club who have made a bid for the exciting Paraguay international.
Despite this cash offer, Newcastle are believed to be focusing most of their effort on foreign loan signings because there is not the money available for permanent deals.
A loan deal for Iran international full back, Milad Mohammadi has been mooted, but Lyon are reluctant to let France Under-21 international striker Martin Terrier leave on a temporary basis, while interest in Juventus youngster Moise Kean is ongoing.
Given the club ended the last window more than £20m in profit following the sale of Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham, Benitez is as confused as supporters about why he has not been given a transfer budget.
In all the recruitment meetings with managing director Lee Charnley before Christmas, the manager expressed his desire for targets to be landed as soon as the window opened, but there has been little – if any – progress made.
Most of this probably touches on what we already knew, but this really does emphasise how close we are to the end of Rafa’s reign if no serious action it taken between now and next Friday’s deadline.
Even if two of his targets are signed, I really struggle to see how he sticks around much longer – especially when a takeover now feels like a distant memory for the second season running.