With news tonight that Rafa Benitez is after 22 year-old Spanish U21 full-back Jonny Otto, Rafa has reiterated Newcastle’s stance with top stars – including those who want to leave the club.
Rafa has told Sky Sports that Newcastle do not have any pressure on them to sell any more players as the world-class Spanish manager prepares Newcastle for the Championship next season.
Rafa Benitez with new signing Matt Ritchie on Friday
We did sell Andros Townsend to Crystal Palace but that was a special case, because he had a £13M release clause in his contract.
If he hadn’t had that put in his contract when we signed him from Spurs in January, there’s every chance we would have been able to keep hold of him – or else get around £20M for him.
In terms of recruitment Newcastle have already signed Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Matz Sels last week for around £25M – so we don’t seem to be too short of money.
And Newcastle did not lay off any non-playing staff when we were relegated in May.
This is what Rafa has told Sky Sports News HQ.:
“We knew we might lose players, especially Andros, because he had a great season and he wanted to play in the Premier League.”
“Then you have to react quickly and we were ready. The week before we had two or three signings ready.”
“I’m happy with the players that we have and we don’t have to sell anybody. Maybe some clubs will come in with transfer offers and we will have to analyze each one.”
“We know it will be very tough for us next season, we have to concentrate on a different division and the motivation has to be there. We have to be ready.”
Newcastle don’t have to sell, but if they get reasonable offers in for players Rafa thinks are expendable then he will sell, but he will make sure we have somebody lined up as a replacement before he sells.
That’s what he did when Townsend was sold, but that hasn’t always happened with Newcastle in the past.
Newcastle are now 2/1 favorites on SkyBet to win the Championship next season, the lowest odds for any club in the history of the Championship.
The above is a message to players like Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko who may want to mimic Townsend’s actions and leave Newcastle.
The two of them will find it a lot harder to leave Newcastle than Andros did.