Newcastle United balked and balked at signing 29-year-old Salomon Rondon from West Bromwich Albion this summer, and he could have been signed for £16.5M via his release clause.
That relegation release clause ran out at the end of last month, and now the news is that West Brom want £25M for him.
Best of luck with that when nobody other than Newcastle were interested in him at £16.5M.
But it looks like there were a few reasons Rafa was not able to get the Venezuelan International to the club.
Rafa Benitez – during a training session
Mike Ashley still wants to sign players who are around 26-years-old or younger and didn’t want to pay £16.5M for a player who would have little sell-on value.
This shows that Rafa is still not entirely in control of the players he wants to bring to the club.
The second reason is that Rondon has a contract that runs out next summer and we could either get him for a reduced fee in January or else get him in as a free agent next summer.
Rafa was even forced into trying to do a swap deal with Dwight Gayle – a player he didn’t really want to lose this summer – to reduce Newcastle’s outlay.
But Dwight stood his ground and refused to move to West Brom because they couldn’t agree on wages.
Rafa could still try to get the player on loan this season, but West Brom will not want to lose him for nothing next summer and may extend his contract before he ventures out on loan.
We don’t know what’s going to happen in the last six days of this transfer window, but what it’s shown is Mike Ashley – by not backing Rafa with money for the fourth transfer window running – is literally driving the manager out of the club.
If nothing changes with Mike Ashley’s running of the club, this could be Rafa’s final season at Newcastle.
The only reason he would ever want to stay is because of the terrific support he gets from the Newcastle United fans.