Why the delay? What we know about Newcastle’s stalled transfer efforts

Rafa Benitez is seeing time tick on by as Newcastle Uniteds transfer activity  is slow going.
Rafa Benitez is seeing time tick on by as Newcastle Uniteds transfer activity is slow going.
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Lee Charnley is under pressure from Mike Ashley to deliver the players that Rafa Benitez needs at Newcastle United.

The club has only made one signing so far this summer.

And Benitez is frustrated that the club hasn’t made more progress in the transfer market.

Ashley is taking a close interest in events at St James’s Park.

United’s billionaire owner is in regular contact with managing director Charnley, who was working on deals over the weekend.

Ashley pledged to back Benitez with “every last penny” the club generated through promotion and player sales.

The market has moved on – and up – since United were last in the Premier League. Deals are becoming more expensive and complicated.

And that pledge still stands, despite Ashley’s keenness to look for outside investment in the club.

Ashley, like Benitez, prefers to get deals done in the early part of the summer.

But Newcastle have found this summer’s window to be problematic, not least because of the inflated prices – and agents’ fees – being demanded.

One player Benitez wanted to bring to St James’s Park was Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who is set to join Swansea City on loan.

Abraham scored 26 goals for Bristol City last season.

And Benitez felt he was ready for the Premier League.

Newcastle, in this instance, couldn’t have done much more.

Chelsea’s preference for Abraham was a move to Swansea, where he will be managed by Paul Clement, who started his coaching career at Stamford Bridge.

The Premier League champions feel there will be less distractions for Abraham – who was also a target for Brighton and Hove Albion – in South Wales.

Chelsea are also keen to maintain good relations with Swansea ahead of a possible move for striker Fernando Llorente later this summer.

Newcastle, for their part, were also surprised by some of the fees associated with the loan of Abraham, who is away with England’s Under-21s.

United have moved on.

Charnley is working through lists of targets and Benitez is working his contracts at home and abroad.

Eibar defender Florian Lejeune could arrive this week in an £8.8million deal.

But more players could quickly follow.

Newcastle also have work to do in moving out players – both on permanent deals and loan – deemed surplus to requirements by Benitez.

But the focus at the moment is on incomings.

Benitez is pushing hard for a breakthrough.

And so too is Ashley, who has made it clear that he doesn’t want the team anywhere near the relegation zone next season.

To that end, the billionaire last month pledged to back Benitez with “every last penny” generated through promotion and player sales last summer.

Benitez, however, doesn’t have a blank cheque.

The market has moved on – and up – since United were last in the Premier League.

Deals are becoming more expensive and complicated.

Agents fees have also risen dramatically.

There will be bargains – and release clauses – out there, but value will be harder than ever to find this summer.

Newcastle, unfortunately, have more business to do than ever in this window.

And Charnley knows he must keep Benitez and Ashley happy.