Rafa Benitez reveals how many signings he needs to keep Newcastle in the Premier League

Rafa Benitez is confident that he can persuade players to join Newcastle United '“ despite the club's lowly league position.
Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank ReidNewcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid
Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid

Benitez met Lee Charnley, the club’s managing director, for talks this week ahead of next month’s transfer window.

United’s manager wants to strengthen a squad which has been found wanting in the first half of the Premier League campaign.

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But Benitez believes a couple of signings “can change everything”.

The situation, however, is complicated by the ongoing takeover talks at Newcastle, put up for sale by owner Mike Ashley.

A takeover is unlikely to be completed in time for would-be buyer Amanda Staveley to invest in the squad next month.

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However, Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners could come to an agreement over January funding while the Premier League ratifies a change in ownership – if a deal is agreed this month.

Asked about his plans for the January window, Benitez said: “I have an idea. I expressed my idea – Lee knows what I think.

“We have to do the best for the team now.

“What’s best for the team’s the best for the club. That’s it.

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“We have some names.

“We have quite a lot (of names), but that’s normal, because sometimes the clubs don’t want to sell or they don’t want to come.

“But, now, we have to start to see what we can afford, because we need this, we need that.

“We need some experience or something different. We knew that.”

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Benitez believes he can attract quality players to the club, despite sitting in 16th place in the table and just a point above the Premier League’s relegation zone.

“It depends on the players we want to sign,” said Benitez.

“When we were in the Championship, I was talking to one or two and they said ‘oh no, we want to play in the Premier League’.

“But now I think we have enough potential to do well. We can stay in the Premier League if we bring in a couple of players.

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“They can see that, because a couple of players can change everything.”

Benitez, speaking ahead of this afternoon’s game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, will also look closely at the loan market.

“We have to try to bring the best players possible for us now,” said Benitez.

“That means if you have a player on loan who’s quite good now, then we have to do it.

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“There aren’t too many options with Premier League experience, with the maximum level and the right personality, so it’s not easy, but you have to do your research everywhere.”

Benitez is prepared to take “risks” in the transfer market.

“When I was at Liverpool, people were saying ‘oh Rafa, he’s signing these young players, they are not good enough’,” recalled Benitez.

“We were signing players for 200,000 Euros, some of them, and some of the top sides were playing £5million for players of the same age.

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“So you have to take risks, because you can’t compete against them. Sometimes you have to do it.”

There could also be movement out of the club, though striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, keen to play week in, week out before heading to the World Cup with Serbia, will not be sold unless a replacement is secured.

Asked about outgoings, Benitez said: “It depends on the market. At the moment, if you don’t have any players coming you can’t sell anyone.

“What I don’t have at the moment is any offers of £15million or £20million for any of our players.”