Rafa Benitez is in Ireland with the first team squad which now includes 22-year-old Brazilian winger Kenedy – signed on loan for the season from Chelsea.
It also includes new goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and we expect our third signing Ki Sung-yueng to join up with the squad in about two weeks time.
He’s resting on holiday back home in South Korea following his World Cup exploits.
Those three new players we have in are all good signings.
Rafa Benitez directing a training session in Ireland
This summer seems to be going better than last summer, which was a disaster for us and had Rafa Benitez at this time last year complaining openly about not being able to sign the players he wanted.
He talked about hoping that Mike Ashley would keep the promises he made in their meeting last year in May.
In retrospect, it looks like the owner didn’t keep his promises last summer.
Rafa has been interviewed in the Chronicle today and he talks about what it will take for Newcastle to compete in the Premier League next season:
“I think that the approach has to be the same as last year.” “It’s one game at a time.”
“We won’t put any targets on this game or another.” “For me, it is just to be sure we do the right things to compete.”
“But they (other clubs) have squads that are already strong anyway.” “We know what we need to do and we must try.”
“If we are strong enough we can compete in the table to finish in the middle of the table or higher.”
“But if we aren’t strong enough we will try to avoid relegation because every single team is spending some money.”
“You hear some people saying: ‘Oh this team or that team hasn’t signed anybody yet either’.”
“It’s a real test. It couldn’t be more difficult.”
“But it is what we have and we have to be ready and prepare the team. They’re training well.”
“If we can improve a little bit on some things we can try to be stronger for next year.”
“We have four young players with us just in case.”
Rafa pulls no punches there and he’s always been a complete realist when he says “It’s a real test. It couldn’t be more difficult.”
We need at least three more players brought into the squad and a good striker is our biggest need of all.
We assume Lee Charnley is working hard on that and hopefully, we can sign three good players in the next week or two.
The sooner we get the new players in the sooner they can be integrated into the squad.