Rafa Benitez reveals why he believes he can attract players to Newcastle in January's transfer window

Rafa Benitez believes he can attract the right players to Newcastle United in the January transfer window.

Saturday, 6th October 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 9:09 am
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez wants to strengthen his squad in the New Year to stave off the threat of relegation.

Newcastle are third-bottom of the Premier League ahead of this evening’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Benitez and his players met owner Mike Ashley for a meal this week.

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And United’s manager – who signed Kenedy (pictured) and Martin Dubravka last January – is confident he can persuade players to join the club in the window if he’s given the right backing.

“I’m very realistic – I know January is a difficult window,” said Benitez. “At the same time, you’re having meetings with scouts and are working on that.

“It’s difficult, because a lot of players are involved in Europe, and it will not be easy for us to bring them here.

“At the same time, it’s a nice city, a good place, fantastic fans, and it’s an opportunity for players to come to the Premier League and show everyone they can do a job here.

“I’m quite optimistic, but at the same time realistic.”

Ashley reportedly told Benitez and his players on Wednesday night that it was unlikely that a buyer for the club, which was put up for sale a year ago, would be found this season.

Asked if he had been told that Ashley would not be selling, Benitez said: “What we talked about during the dinner is between us. It was informal.

“We were not talking about anything serious that you can print and then it will make a difference for us, for the fans or for the club.

“I don’t see why it’s so important what we have as our first plate, it’s not changed anything for the game.”

Meanwhile, Benitez will make late checks on Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez, who missed last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Leicester City with injuries.

“I have to assess Federico and Dummett,” he said. “No (Salomon) Rondon. (Jamie) Sterry unavailable.”