With news last night that both Liverpool and Manchester City are interested in activating Andros Townsend’s release clause of around £13M in his contract, it could be that Rafa Benitez will have some difficulty in keeping his best players at Newcastle in the Championship next season.
Players likely to push for a move are Moussa Sissoko, Gini Wijnaldum, Daryl Janmaat and even Townsend, who has quickly become a fan favorite on Tyneside.
However there’s another report in the Chronicle today that players will not be allowed to leave the club without the approval of manager Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez – expected to take hard-line with some players
Benitez will take a hard-line with those players he wants to keep on Tyneside – players like Sissoko and Wijnaldum.
Those players who have not been involved in Internationals during the break will report back for pre-season training next week and that’s a large portion of the squad.
It will be just over six weeks of intense pre-season training before the Championship season starts on the weekend of Saturday 6th August, with the fixture list being released tomorrow.
Rafa will have the time to get his ideas across fully before the season starts – and we expect to see a Rafa Benitez like team start the season and hopefully get off to a great start, which will be important.
We expect the defense to be much improved from the last four years, when we conceded a massive 255 league goals yet the defense was never strengthened significantly during that time.
Rafa also wants about five or six new players brought in and a couple will be loan signings and he’s also expected to bring in some experienced players with leadership skills to augment the fairly young squad we have.
The problem Rafa may have with some of the top players is they react negatively to not being allowed to leave the club and it will be interesting to see how Rafa deals with that – if it happens.
He will explain to the likes of Wijnaldum and Sissoko it’s only one season down below and they can be part of the top team he intends to build at Newcastle United and that team can be challenging soon for a top four position in the Premier League – that’s Rafa’s ambition.
But stories about Newcastle players being wanted by other top clubs will continue until the end of the transfer window – unfortunately – and that could be a distraction for the team and maybe for Rafa too.
We think the manager will cash in on at least one top player if Newcastle get the right kind of offer coming in – a huge one.