Newcastle United briefing: Transfer latest, Rafa Benitez explains Academy decision

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez took questions from Newcastle United fans at St James's Park last night.

Benitez spoke about the club's summer recruitment as well as his plans for the coming Premier League campaign.

The event at NINE Bar was held as the club finalised Mikel Merino's loan move from Borussia Dortmund.

Newcastle's Under-23 side were also in action last night in a pre-season tournament in Whitby.

Here's your daily briefing:

No deal

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle moved for Merino after holding tentative discussions with Benfica about a move for Andreas Samaris.

The club has been strongly linked with the defensive midfielder for some time.

But the deal proposed by Benfica was not right for Newcastle – and Benitez moved on.

United's capture of 21-year-old Merino should be confirmed later today.

Achraf Lazaar

Achraf Lazaar

In the cold

Benitez has spoken about the need to move players on in recent weeks.

And Newcastle's manager has told three senior players – Tim Krul, Achraf Lazaar and Emmanuel Riviere – to train at the Academy until they can find new clubs.

Benitez, preparing for tomorrow's friendly against German club Mainz at the Opel Arena, has explained the decision.

Tim Krul

Tim Krul

"When you have too many players, what you can do is talk with them straight, and that's what I did," said Benitez.

"I told them 'listen, we have too many players – my idea is this one'. We have to be sure that they understand what we want to do.

"If someone has to stay at the Academy, they have to understand that it's not personal, it's professional."

Riviere is reportedly close to sealing a move away from St James's Park.

The striker, signed from Monaco three years ago, is said to be a target for French club Metz.

At the double

Two goals from Ivan Toney gave United's Under-23s a 2-1 win over Celtic at Whitby Town's Turnbull Ground last night.

Newcastle will face the winner's of tonight's game between the hosts and AZ Alkmaar tomorrow (5.30pm kick-off).