The only thing that Rafa Benitez is thinking about this season is to get Newcastle United promoted straight back to the Premier League.
That was his thinking in the summer, when he brought in new players such as Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden, Mo Diame and Daryl Murphy – players who had experience playing in England’s second division.
So far that has worked out extremely well and Rafa built a very good squad and they have shown in the first 22 games of the season – one game short of half way – that the side can do well and can fight it out in games when things get tough.
Rafa Benitez – wants Newcastle to be numero uno
What Newcastle don’t necessarily have is a team that can do as well in the Premier League with the current squad.
With no additions to the squad we should be able to do fairly well, but Rafa is extremely ambitious and he wants to have a squad capable of making the top six in the Premier League next season and fight for a place in Europe.
After all, that’s what Rafa is used to and his former clubs like Valencia, Liverpool, Inter-Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid all played in Europe and he’s already won three European trophies.
Rafa will want to do the same thing at Newcastle and he has already said he wants to win trophies at the Tyneside club.
Rafa had a massive clear-out last summer and we think he will do much the same thing this summer with players such as Florian Thauvin, Henri Saivet, Emmanuel Riviere, Kevin Mbabu, Haris Vuckic and Sammy Ameobi all moving out.
Other more established players like players like Tim Krul and Siem de Jong could also leave and players in the current Championship squad such as Massadio Haidara, Daryl Murphy and Chancel Mbemba will likely leave.
Cheick Tiote will leave in January or be released when his contract runs out in June.
And Rafa will want to bring in some very good players who will cost big money and it’s almost certain that Newcastle’s record signing of £17M, when we brought in Michael Owen from Real Madrid in 2005, will be broken.
And some big money will need to be spent in the summer on players brought in to significantly raise the quality of the squad and compete for a top six place.
That’s one reason Alan Shearer has said it will only be in the summer when we see if Mike Ashley is really committed to allowing Rafa build a top side at Newcastle, or whether he will balk at some stage – which would be disastrous for the club.
The changes that Rafa will make this summer may not be as big as the turnover we had last summer, but it’s going to be close.
Last summer’s clear-out and transfers were to get rid of the dead wood and build a side that could be promoted from the Championship at the first attempt.
The contrast is in the summer Rafa will be looking to build a squad that can challenge for the top six in the Premier League.
Rafa’s goals, which he may not state publicly, will be to finish in the top six next season and if we can do that it would be only the second time Newcastle have done that since Mike Ashley bought the club way back in the summer of 2007.
Everything can go well just as long as owner Mike Ashley continues to support Rafa in what he is trying to do and that big money is made available to the Spaniard.
If Newcastle do get promoted this season, things are going to be very exciting for long-suffering Newcastle fans once the summer rolls around, as Rafa bids to make Newcastle into a great side again.
Sounds absolutely great to us.
Howay The Lads!!