It seems that Newcastle may struggle again this season after we have picked up just one point in our first five games.
Last season. with much easier fixtures we had 9 points from five games after losing our first two games but winning the next three.
We beat West Ham, Swansea and Stoke, and the last two ended up relegated last May.
Rafa will want to strengthen the team come January and he and Steve Nickson – Head of Recruitment – have already had several meetings and players will be watched by our scouts through the end of this year.
Steve Nickson – Newcastle’s Head of Recruitment
Last January we brought in goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and left winger Kenedy on loan, and they made a massive difference to the team.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether owner Mike Ashley will give any money to Rafa in January for new players.
If he doesn’t, and Rafa has to scrape together two loan players coming in from the continent, he may decide he’s had enough of Ashley.
Rafa has said he could decide whether to leave Newcastle in April, and that’s a few months after the January transfer window closes.
But we should get some idea whether he will leave sooner than that depending on how much he’s supported by Ashley in January.
We’ll not be too surprised if January is like the last two winter transfer windows and Rafa is not helped by the owner.
Rafa will want to bring in a full-back, a number 10 and maybe another striker to complement and improve the current squad.
This could be Rafa’s final transfer window at Newcastle – and it will be Mike Ashley who has driven Rafa out of the club if the manager does decide to leave.
It will be difficult to blame Rafa if he does leave and join a more ambitious club than Newcastle are under Mike Ashley.
There are many of those in the Premier League these days.
You can only take so much before deciding nothing is ever going to change under Ashley – they haven’t for the last 11 years – even when we have a world-class manager in place.
Remember when Rafa came in (March 11, 2016) and fans said even Mike Ashley cannot screw this one up?
The owner may just achieve that unless he has a change of heart and starts to support the manager, but it may already be too late.
It will Ashley’s biggest mistake at Newcastle if Rafa leaves – and maybe his last.
What do you think will happen at the end of the season with Rafa?