There’s no doubt that Rafa Benitez after two difficult years at Newcastle when he has returned the club back into the top ten in the Premier League – he means business at Newcastle.
Rafa wants to start making some structural changes at the club and has already talked about how the transfer procedures must change at Newcastle so we can get players in a lot more quickly than in past years when negotiations could go on for months.
Rafa will want to see changes there as he decides this summer whether he should sign a contract extension at the club; his current contract expires June 30th next year.
Rafa also wants Newcastle to invest in the infrastructure and wants to overhaul the Youth Academy and the Newcastle U23 squad, so we get more players coming through to the first team.
Rafa Benitez – at the Benton Training Grounds
In a well-run club, Rafa has said they want to see one player each year come into the first-team squad having been brought through the ranks.
Rafa had changes made to the Benton training grounds only a few months after he arrived – and they were cosmetic – the walls were painted in lighter colors, and more room was allocated for the players and the coaching staff to relax between training sessions and after training.
Rafa will now want to see Benton transformed over time into a world-class training facility which owner Mike Ashley promised us way back in November 2014 but has done nothing since then.
The cost four years ago was £25M, but that cost will have risen since then.
This is what Joe Kinnear, Director of Football said at the time:
“Top players and top teams need top training and medical facilities.”
“Our current training ground has served the club very well but the new complex will give us all of the ingredients that we need to continue maintaining and enhancing the performance of elite footballers.”
“It will also be an added attraction when we are looking to recruit players.”
A couple of years ago Brighton upgraded their training facilities with a £30M investment – so we are lagging behind other clubs in this area – including smaller clubs.
Brighton’s new state-of-the-art training and teaching facility is a Category One status training center under the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s new Training Facility
So when Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley do meet to discuss both Rafa’s and Newcastle’s future, these are some of the things the manager will bring up.
Mike Ashley’s response to these demands will be interesting, and we may even be able to work out whether he wants to sell the club this summer or keep Newcastle for a few more years.
What do you think?