Rafa Benitez reveals his ruthless side at Newcastle

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez is ready to be ruthless as he bids to turn Newcastle United into a Premier League force.

Benitez guided the Magpies back to the top flight in his first full season in charge of the club.

But a number of United’s Championship-winning players are already fearing for their futures.

Benitez has already opted against giving utility player Vurnon Anita a new deal, while striker Daryl Murphy has revealed that the club will listen to offers for him this summer.

Serbian frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic is also set for talks with Benitez over his future.

And a number of other players, including some big names, are likely to leave St James’s Park in the transfer window.

Vurnon Anita

Vurnon Anita

Benitez was also coy last month when asked whether defender Jamaal Lascelles – who ably led the club in the Championship – would continue as captain in the top flight next season.

“He’s the captain now,” said Benitez. “We’ll see next season.”

Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow are aware that Benitez, strongly linked with a move for Napoli’s Pepe Reina, could bring in a new first-choice goalkeeper.

Longstanding club No 1 Tim Krul, linked with Anderlecht, also faces an uncertain future on his return to Newcastle.

He (Lascelles) is the captain now. We’ll see next season.

Rafa Benitez

Krul – who spent the second half of last season on loan at AZ Alkmaar – has just one year left on his contract.

Speaking to the Gazette last month, Krul said: “I’ve been at Newcastle for 11 seasons. It’s part of my life – a massive part of my life.”

Forward Siem de Jong – who spent last season on loan at PSV Eindhoven – is not in Benitez’s plans.

And left-back Achraf Lazaar, signed last summer from Palermo, could leave the black and whites having only made a handful of appearances.

Yoan Gouffran

Yoan Gouffran

Meanwhile, forward Yoan Gouffran, like Anita, is out of contract this summer.

Benitez revealed last week that the club was in discussions with Gouffran’s agent over a new deal at St James’s Park.

“I can confirm we are in early-stage discussions now with Yoan’s agent to see if there might be a solution that could work for both the player and the club which may see Yoan extend his service to Newcastle,” said Benitez.

However, Gouffran, 31, may be reluctant to take a shorter-term deal at this stage of his career.