It seems to be the same scenario for the last four transfer windows now for Newcastle United. Rafa Benitez promised he can have every penny the club make to spend on whatever he wants. However, once again no progress has been made on the transfer front or improving the academy.
Benitez has been at wars with Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley since that January transfer window two seasons ago. Since then it seems like Benitez is not getting the players he wants when he wants. For example, Jacob Murphy was signed for £12 million and was never a consistent starter for The Magpies, yet was the club’s most expensive singing last season.
Benitez never wanted Islam Slimani at the club when he signed him on loan in January. This was because he was near the bottom of his 30 striker long list of transfer targets. How a man of Benitez’s reputation and calibre can not be given a striker on that list that’s at least in his top 10 targets is astonishing.
This summer has to be different from Newcastle. The need for a striker has been huge the last few seasons but this season it is critical they get a proven goal scorer through the door. That is what had them in a relegation battle for most of the season, if they sign a striker I can see them being comfortable this season finishing bottom half, but comfortable.
If Newcastle can get a striker in that will score 10 plus goals for them next season it will be something the Geordie faithful haven’t seen consistently since Demba Ba left for Chelsea. With Benitez also looking at another number 10 and winger (possibly Kenedy) this transfer window looks huge. If they sign the players they need, they could become an established Premier League side again; but if they don’t, it could be another long season on Tyneside.
Beside all that the biggest signing that Newcastle could make is not on the pitch, but in the dugout. If the hierarchy manage to tie Benitez down to at least another two years this will calm fans down and make it easier to attract players as they will know they can improve for the next two or three years at least. The only thing that is stopping Benitez signing a contract extension is promises that he can spend the transfer money how he wants to spend it and not be stopped or questioned about it. How any owner or director of football can’t guarantee this to a manager like Benitez is beyond me and seems rather strange.
If Newcastle come out of this transfer window with a new striker, a number 10, a winger and Benitez having signed a new contract then it must be said it would have been one of the best and critical windows in recent years for The Geordies.