Southend United manager Phil Brown has kind of spilled the beans a little bit when he was interviewed in the Journal today and said that Rafa Benitez told him he still wants four or five players brought in this summer.
That probably means Rafa still sees a number of players leaving Newcastle before September rolls around.
And Rafa wants to get promoted and also with the Championship, although that doesn’t come as a any big surprise.
Phil Brown – Rafa wanted to talk about football
This is what Phil told the Journal today:
“I’ve just spoken with Rafa – he came into the dressing room not for a beer, just for a chat.”
“He’s just said to me that he still wants to bring four or five players in and yet you look at the squad there and he can boast what 22 to 24 players in the squad here – and every one of them can play in the Championship.”
“But he wants better, he wants to get promoted, he wants to finish first, which is every Newcastle fan’s dream to finish as Champions of the league.”
“But it’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Everybody’s going to go to St James’ Park and it’s their cup final.”
“Everybody’s said that, and they’ve got to be mentally prepared for that.”
“Now listen, I’m a North-East man; I’m a Sunderland fan but I’m a North-East man so it’d be great to see Newcastle get promoted and see Sunderland and Middlesbrough stay up there.”
“We need to get the North East back on the map as a hotbed of football so it’s great to have three teams up there and challenging to be in the Premier League.”
“It’s a big year for Newcastle though, there’s no doubt about it.”
“There’s a lot of players at the club who are probably Premier League players, there’s no doubt about it, but it doesn’t matter; you’re in the Championship and your mentality has to be absolutely spot on.”
“I don’t need to tell Rafa that, I don’t need to tell Newcastle fans that – but sometimes the players need to hear that.”
We wouldn’t be too surprised if Thauvin, Sissoko, Tiote, Krul and maybe Janmaat all leave the club before September rolls around.
Phil is right that it would be very good for the region to have all three northeast clubs in the Premier League next May.
And yes – it’s all looking good for Newcastle right now, but after what has happened over the last two seasons we take absolutely nothing for granted – with the emphasis on nothing.
Last year at about this time, after spending big money in the transfer market, there was one thing we were certain of – we wouldn’t be fighting relegation.
We will be very happy if we can get a win at Fulham a week on Friday and then we can take it from there.