Friday 22 February 2019

Benitez may quit Newcastle over lack of signings

Benitez has refused to discuss transfers in public this month, it’s understood that he is reaching breaking point as deadline day nears. Photo: REUTERS
Benitez has refused to discuss transfers in public this month, it’s understood that he is reaching breaking point as deadline day nears. Photo: REUTERS

Luke Edwards

Rafael Benitez is expected to leave Newcastle United at the end of the season unless the club give him the two signings he asked for at the start of this transfer window.

The manager gave the club a list of targets last month, with players in each position separated into different price brackets, but Newcastle are yet to land any.

Benitez has refused to discuss transfers in public this month, it's understood that he is reaching breaking point as deadline day nears.

If the club refuses to back him, 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 his recruitment needs are not respected.

He has been arguing for more than a year that he needs to improve a squad who still rely heavily on the 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.

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 asking price will be cut 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 full-back Milad Mohammadi has been mooted, but Lyon are reluctant to let France U-21 international striker Martin Terrier leave on a temporary basis. Newcastle remain interested in Juventus 18-year-old Moise Kean.

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.

Benitez threw a tentative peace offering in the direction of owner Mike Ashley over the weekend by suggesting it was a positive thing he had attended his first home game since November for the morale-boosting victory over Cardiff, but it has not helped his cause.

Newcastle will receive another chunk of television money worth around £55m before the end of the month, but it still seems as though Ashley is reluctant to allow Benitez to spend it.

The club have always privately maintained that there is money to spend on the right sort of player and have even indicated that they would break their transfer record - the £16.5m paid for Michael Owen in 2005 - if they needed to.

Benitez, though, wants to see action rather than just words and he is getting fed up waiting. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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