Rafa Benitez’s frustrations grow at Newcastle’s transfer window inaction

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez is becoming increasingly frustrated at Newcastle United’s inaction in the transfer window.

The 13th-placed club is yet to sign a player in this month’s window.

Benitez – who wants to strengthen a number of key positions for the second half of the Premier League campaign – had been looking for United to do its business by January 20.

Newcastle’s manager has outlined his ideas to owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley – and he’s still waiting for the club to move on his targets.

Speaking last month, Benitez said: “I have confidence that Mike Ashley will deliver what we need to stay in the Premier League before January 20, to be sure that we have time to work with the new players.”

With 11 days gone, Benitez’s confidence is ebbing away.

Ashley – who had hoped to sell the club by Christmas – yesterday returned from holiday. The hope is that the stand-off between Benitez and Ashley could end now that the billionaire is back in the country.

Benitez, keen to add Premier League experience to his squad, has been looking at the loan market.

Chelsea winger Kenedy is one target, but Antonio Conte is not yet ready to let the 21-year-old leave Stamford Bridge.

Kenedy, linked with Lokomotiv Moscow, is also wanted by a number of other clubs. Benitez, able to sign two players on loan from Premier League clubs in the window, is sweating on the proposed deal.

A number of fringe players could leave the club this month.

Midfielder Jack Colback has been told he has no future at St James’s Park, though his wages are a stumbling block to a permanent move. United could instead subsidise a loan.

Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara has been linked with FC Utrecht.

Benitez, however, is adamant that midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, reportedly a target for West Ham United, will not be sold to a rival.

Shelvey has been speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home game against his former club, Swansea City.

“As soon as I found out Newcastle were interested, there was only one place to go, but obviously I don’t want to see them go down, because I want to play against them and I have mates in their team,” said Shelvey, signed in January 2016 for £12million. “But football is a cut-throat business, and I would rather we stayed up than them.”

Benitez will face the media today ahead of the Swansea game. The 57-year-old has been reluctant to talk about the transfer window in his recent press conferences, though that position could change.

Meanwhile, Newcastle are continuing their investigation into allegations of bullying and racism made against Under-23 coach Peter Beardsley.