Rafa Benitez makes a startling admission about Newcastle’s transfer progress

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Rafa Benitez hinted at his transfer frustrations at Newcastle United – after the club ended its pre-season campaign with a win.

Benitez’s side beat Hellas Verona 2-0 at St James’s Park yesterday thanks to goals from Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu.

When I decided to stay, I was expecting another thing. Now we are where we are.

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle kick off their Premier League campaign on Sunday with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Benitez agreed to stay at the club and take charge in the top flight after meeting owner Mike Ashley in May.

Ashley promised Benitez “every last penny” that United generated through promotion and player sales.

Newcastle – who had a bid for Stoke City striker Joselu turned down last week – have spent more than £30million so far this summer.

But Benitez feels much more needs to be spent on his squad.

“When I decided to stay, I was expecting another thing,” said United’s manager.

“Now we are where we are. I decided to stay because of a lot of positive things I could see, starting with the fans.

“I will try to do my best to be sure that the team we have will be good enough to compete and stay as high as we can in the Premier League.”

Benitez needs to move a number of players out of the club this summer.

So far, only Daryl Murphy, Florian Thauvin and 17-year-old Lewis Gibson have been sold, while Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran left as free agents.

Other players, including Achraf Lazaar, Emmanuel Riviere and Henri Saivet, will prove harder to move on given their lucrative contracts at St James’s Park.

Asked if he had to sell to buy, Benitez said: “We have to sell – that’s obviously necessary – but we can buy.

“It depends on the conditions. The majority of (those players that are for sale) know directly or through their agents.

“We have a situation where everyone knows.

“For the championship, they are too expensive.

“Maybe Premier League teams come in for them.

“That’s the reality. We have to manage with this reality.”