One of the advantages we have with Rafa Benitez as the manager is that he knows a lot of agents and has a lot of contacts in the world of football.
And one of our transfer targets in the summer was the goalkeeper we will be facing this afternoon at the London Stadium – goalkeeper Adrian.
It just so happens that Adrian has known Rafa for quite some time and he seems to have massive respect for the Newcastle manager.
So if only we could have got our act together last summer, we could have probably signed Adrian from West Ham – but it was another case of Newcastle missing out on targets.
And as we know – Rafa wasn’t a happy camper because he thought Newcastle were not aggressive enough last summer.
Adrian – West Ham goalkeeper
Adrian has ousted England goalkeeper Joe Hart in London, and he has been playing well since he returned to the first team.
The 30 year-old has been interviewed on the West Ham site as a lead-up to our massive game today at the London stadium.
This is what he had to say about his personal situation and Rafa:
“To be honest, the start of this season was the hardest three or four months I have had at West Ham.”
“At the end of last season, I got my position in the starting eleven again and I played well and we finished well so to be out of the team at the start of this season was hard for me.”
“I knew that, if I worked hard, this opportunity would come, initially in the cup games, and possibly in the Premier League, to show my level.”
“I have known Rafa for a long time. He is a very good manager and did a very good job at Newcastle when they were in the second tier.”
“They started the season very well but they have not got good results in their last few games, so it’s a good time for us to give our maximum in our own stadium and get the three points.”
“I wish Rafa Benitez the best but not on Saturday!”
Adrian certainly seems to have an excellent attitude, and we always thought he was a good goalkeeper when we have seen him play for the Hammers.
Rafa could even want to bring two goalkeepers into the club this year and sell Karl Darlow and send young Freddie Woodman out on a season on loan for next season.