The Mail is reporting tonight that Rafa Benitez has spent the day looking at potential transfer targets with Lee Charnley and he is almost there, with news Rafa has now verbally committed to stay on at Newcastle United for the next three years.
NUFC UPDATE Rafa Benitez has spent today working on list of transfer targets after verbally agreeing to stay at NUFC https://t.co/Aq0Xbf9UO5
— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) May 17, 2016
It certainly looks like Rafa’s happy at the guarantees given to him by the owner on Saturday night in the Board room at St. James’ Park and both Rafa and Charnley are reported to be working hard together getting ready for the pre-season.
That includes a list of friendlies to be played in July before the Championship season kicks off on August 7th.
In addition to working on transfers and pre-season friendlies, both men spent time also working on the final agreement that will hopefully be ready to sign (very) soon.
While Chief Scout Graham Carr will leave the club this summer, Lee Charnley will surprisingly stay on in his position, with Rafa said to be comfortable working with the man who almost singe-handedly was responsible for Newcastle’s relegation this season.
This deal is getting closer and closer and we have to think Newcastle are working really hard behind the scenes to get this thing announced – but the Mail report says only that the announcement will come before next week.
In June of last year, West Ham United were close to getting Rafa signed up until Real Madrid came in for him at the last moment and he joined the club he had been with when he was much younger – but that appointment did not come to a happy ending and Rafa was fired in early January.
Of course it’s not over till it’s over – and Newcastle fans will well remember in January three years ago when Newcastle had a verbal agreement from Loic Remy and his reps to join the club but the next day he ended up signing for QPR for more money – and we lost him.
That’s another reason we think Newcastle are working at high speed to get everything made official and certainly we think before the end of the week.
Rafa has always wanted control at a club on all footballing matters and at Newcastle this will be the first time he really has carte blanche (complete freedom) control – with Mike Ashley keen to get him to essentially run Newcastle for him over the next few years.
George Caulkin of The Times has reported the meeting with Mike Ashley on Sunday night went well beyond the wildest dreams of both sides with Mike Ashley and Rafa seeing eye to eye on most things and the meeting lasted almost three hours and not the two hours that was previously reported.
This is what George has tweeted tonight, so there’s still the chance another big club could come in for him.
Carr expected to go, targets being identified: all well-established. A few new details to follow later, but all still looking good.
— George Caulkin (@CaulkinTheTimes) May 17, 2016
With Rafa well known for being a workaholic, we can see him put the hours in over the summer to ensure he has a strong squad that can help us come straight back up next May.
However, some of the players he signs will also have to be good enough for the Premier League with Rafa building a squad that can be in Europe in a few years time – and the sooner the better.
It’s a strange time indeed for Newcastle fans – the nightmare scenario happened last Wednesday when Sunderland beat Everton and the Black Cats stayed up and we went down to the Championship with Norwich and Aston Villa.
And since then, it’s now looking like we will have a world-class manager in place at the club in charge of all football matters for at least three years, whose stated aim is to win trophies at Newcastle.
It’s the worst of times and the best of times – all at once – for the Geordie faithful.
We’ll take it!
Howay The Lads!!