Rafa Explains Why He’s Made All These Changes

Once Rafa accepted the job at Newcastle on May 25th – 10 days after the season finished – he put changes in place for the Benton Training center that he wanted completed before pre-season training started today – and those goals were met.

They included laying two 4G artificial pitches in place of the older 3G ones and equipping the gym out with the latest advanced equipment.


Rafa Benitez – back for pre-season training

Rafa also had the inside of the Benton Training grounds reconfigured and repainted to both freshen things up and make it more workable for the players and the staff – and it included having his own office refurbished.

This is the most that’s been done to improve facilities at Newcastle for years.

Here’s what Rafa has said today about some of the changes he has made:

“The summer was short because we were busy. The players have enjoyed the summer, holidays with their families and they come back ready.”

“I met some of them and they can see the change in the facilities. I met them and they seem quite positive.”

“I feel they enjoyed their holidays but they want to play football. They are happy to be here and to train.”

“We changed things in the dressing rooms, offices and showers and everyone has a bit more space – it’s more color, it’s brighter.”

“Hopefully they will be more comfortable and they don’t need to waste time thinking about anything other than football.”

“One of the things is to improve the player’s room. They can enjoy it and play some games.”

“When you train in the morning and afternoon, you can stay there and have lunch. I think it’s good for the team.”

And I almost forgot – Rafa was the driving force in getting three new players brought in over the last three days.

They are 24 year-old goalkeeper Matz Sels from Gent, 25 year-old striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace and 26 year-old right winger Matt Ritchie from Bournemouth – all good players with great attitudes.

You could say Rafa’s done quite a lot in the short time he’s been the full-time manager at Newcastle.

Assuming Colo joins San Lorenzo after he has been released by Newcastle and Remy Cabella is sold to Marseille for £7.3M, here’s the state of the transfers at Newcastle on the 1st July.

Matz Sels£4.5MKAA Gent
Dwight Gayle£10MCrystal Palace
Matt Ritchie£10MBournemouth
Jesus Gamez£1.5MAtletico Madrid
Isaac Hayden£2.5MArsenal
Grant Hanley£5.5MBlackburn
Ciaran Clark£5MAston Villa
Mohamed Diame£4.5MHull City
DeAndre Yedlin£5MTottenham
Daryl Murphy£3MIpswich Town
Achraf Lazaar£3MPalermo
Christian AtsuLoan - seasonChelsea
Transfer Fees In£54.5M
Gabby ObertanReleasedAnzhi Makhachkala
Sylvain MarveauxReleasedLorient
Steven TaylorReleasedPortland Timbers
Fabricio ColocciniReleasedSan Lorenzo
Andros Townsend£13MCrystal Palace
Remy Cabella£7.5MMarseille
Papiss Cisse£2.5MShandong Luneng
Gini Wijnaldum£25MLiverpool
Florian ThauvinLoan - seasonMarseille
Siem de JongLoan - seasonPSV
Kevin MbabuLoan - seasonBSC Young Boys
Henri SaivetLoan - seasonSt. Etienne
Daryl Janmaat£7.5MWatford
Tim KrulLoan - JanuaryAjax
Tim KrulLoan from JanuaryAZ Alkmaar
Gael BigirimanaFreeCoventry City
Adam ArmstrongLoan - seasonBarnsley
Emmanuel RiviereLoan - seasonCA Osasuna
Jamie SterryLoan - JanuaryCoventry City
Haris VuckicLoan - JanuaryBradford City
Sammy AmeobiLoan - JanuaryBolton Wanderers
Moussa Sissoko£30MTottenham Hotspur
Transfer Fees Out£85.5M
Net Spend-£31M

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