Rafa Benitez 'must sell to buy' at Newcastle

Francisco de Mguel Moreno, left, and Rafa Benitez.
Francisco de Mguel Moreno, left, and Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez must finance some of his summer transfer plans by offloading players at Newcastle United, according to a report.

Benitez and his representatives have been discussing a budget with the club's hierarchy for the past two months.

The club has only signed one player – former loanee Martin Dubravka – so far this summer.

READ MORE: Matt Ritchie’s ‘busy and annoying’, but he’s so important to Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle

Benitez, having guided United to a 10th-placed finish last season, wants a budget that will allow him to compete even higher up the Premier League next season.

Owner Mike Ashley, however, is not prepared to put any more money into the club, and Benitez's transfer funds must come from profits and player sales.

Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Aleksandar Mitrovic.

One of the first players to leave could be striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is wanted by Fulham.

Mitrovic – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage – could command a fee of up to £20million.

Newcastle also expect midfielder Mikel Merino – who has a release clause in his contract – to join Real Sociedad in the coming days.

The Times report that Benitez "has been told that he must, in part, finance any signings through sales".

Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Stoke City are understood to be interested in signing winger Matt Ritchie, who scored the goal that secured United's Premier League status last season.

It is not clear whether Benitez would be prepared to sacrifice Ritchie.

However, Benitez is looking to move on a number of players, including Matz Sels, Chancel Mbemba, Jack Colback and Achraf Lazaar.