When Rafa returned to Newcastle last Monday to take the preseason training, we were hoping he would quickly be interviewed and tell the fans what exactly was going on in the transfer window this summer.
That’s after we seemed to have lost out on Sporting center-back Ruben Semeda who joined Villareal and Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who preferred a season loan move to Swansea City
It’s also looking like Fabian Delph is going to Stoke City for about £12M and 22 year-old Chelsea central midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah could be joining Watford for a bargain £5M fee – two of our other targets.
The triumvirate running Newcastle – who has the real ambition?
Hint – he’s not standing on the outside
We also balked at paying £17M for top target Harry Maguire, because we would not pay that and valued him at only £12M.
We finally did sign Florian Lejeune from Eibar for £8.8M last Monday, but that took us about six weeks to agree with the Spanish club on the structure of how we would pay the release clause – presumably either all up front or in two installments.
The worrying thing about all of this is that Newcastle seem to have slipped back to the way they used to operate a couple or three years ago.
They are (continually) demonstrating how difficult it is to make a signing, when you seem determined to make a bargain on every single deal and at least from the outside Newcastle seem to be guilty again of severe penny-pinching.
It’s not always possible to get a super-duper deal for every player we go after – and sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay the going price.
We are reported to be unwilling to pay out €20M (£17.4) for 28 year-old Greek international central midfielder Andreas Samaras of Benfica and reportedly have bid around £3M less than the asking price and now free-spending and newly ambitious Everton FC have moved in.
And this after we did so very well last summer.
At this time last year we were just signing Jesus Gamez from Atletico Madrid and he was the fourth player through the door after Matz Sels, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle had all been signed.
So we have two players though the door now in Christian Atsu and Florian Lejeune compared to four at the same time as last year.
However, a short three days after Gamez arrived at Newcastle we announced 21 year-old Isaac Hayden had been signed for £2.5M from Arsenal, so we were buzzing at this time last summer.
The danger for Newcastle fans is that Rafa will quickly see through the two above him in Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley and they are going to penny pinch far too much.
And we don’t know of many clubs who have become really successful in Europe like some of Rafa Benitez teams of the past, who have been guilty of penny-pinching.
You have to have real ambition to become a top club in Europe and we still don’t see that from Mike Ashley.
Otherwise maybe he would be loaning Newcastle some funds for this summer and it could be paid back over a year or so – if we are really short of funds – which is not at all clear.
There’s also been very little communication over the last week or so on transfers to the fans which with Rafa at the club – is unusual.
And yes Rafa has been very quiet.
Mike Ashley and company have to realize quickly that top managers like Rafa Benitez don’t allow themselves to be messed around for too long – and that’s one reason they have been successful.
If they decide they just cannot become successful at a club for whatever reason, they move on and they have lots of suitors waiting to snap them up too – especially with the massive money on offer now in the Premier League.
Yes – it’s still very early in the transfer window we know, but it’s worrying that Newcastle seem to have slipped back to their old ways of bartering for every single dollar (or pound or euro) in this summer transfer market.
And also not having much to say about what is or isn’t happening and that’s not too promising either – at least at the moment.
We have every confidence in Rafa Benitez – he’s already proved his complete loyalty to Newcastle United by risking his stellar career by going down below with us last season.
But Mike Ashley still seems like a dark horse and we don’t know what his real intentions are for the club.