Rafa Benitez gives Newcastle transfer update after talks with Lee Charnley

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez has had a transfer meeting with Lee Charnley to finalise Newcastle United’s plans for the transfer window.

Benitez wants to strengthen his squad next month.

And United’s manager has drawn up lists of targets with Steve Nickson, the club’s head of recruitment.

“I was talking with Lee – my communication is with Lee,” said Benitez. “It’s what I said before – business as usual. No news.

“We’re just working on players and trying to be sure that we have the right names, and that’s it.”

Asked if he knew how much he had to spend, Benitez said: “We’re looking for the right players, and after we say ‘this’ or ‘that’.

“The way that we’re working is we’re analysing players in the positions we need. We try to find the right players and we have a list of players in each position. Then we can sign this or that. It depends.”

Benitez had to sell to buy in the summer after refusing to sign a new contract.

Asked if he would have to “wheel and deal” again, Benitez said: “I used to do it all my life. I don’t think I was breaking the record in transfer windows, never, ever, with any of my teams.

“We had to sell players to buy players. I don’t have any problem with that if you do things in time and find the right players. The main thing is to find the right players.

“I was hearing the radio and they were talking about the transfer window for Manchester United in January, and they said it would be very difficult, because you will not find too many players.

“It’s the same for everyone. January is a very difficult window. You have to be very precise. You have to find the player – after you can discuss the price.”

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is away for Christmas.

Asked if he had received a Christmas hamper from Ashley, Benitez said: “I’m so focused I didn’t have time to check! Normally I give present to all the staff and they give presents back.

“They are killing me, because what do they give? Wine? I don’t drink. Or chocolate, and I don’t want to eat more chocolate or ice cream!”