Rafa Benitez’s less-than-revealing response to a question about Newcastle’s Premier League chances

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez will NOT put a figure on what he feels he needs to spend this summer at Newcastle United when he meets Mike Ashley.

Alan Shearer believes the promoted club needs to spend at least £150million on EIGHT new Premier League players.

Obviously, we have a good team, but we’ll see what happens in the future.

Rafa Benitez

But Benitez, set for end-of-season talks with owner Ashley, will not demand an exact figure.

Instead, Benitez – whose side will win the Championship title if they better Brighton and Hove Albion’s result on the final day of the season – will explain a transfer strategy that would involve outgoings as well as incomings.

United’s manager has been coy about his future since the club secured promotion to the top flight.

And Benitez was guarded when asked if Newcastle would be able to compete in the Premier League after Friday night’s 2-0 win over Cardiff City in South Wales.

“We’ll see,” said Benitez. “Obviously, we have a good team, but we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Shearer, meanwhile, has admitted to being “worried” when Benitez refused to commit himself to United after last week’s promotion-securing win over Preston North End at St James’s Park.

The club legend – who briefly managed the club under Ashley – has questioned whether Ashley give Benitez what he needs in the summer.

Asked about the contrasting fortunes of Newcastle and relegated Sunderland, Shearer told The Sun: “One is on the up and one on the way down.

“But Newcastle are also at a crossroads, and I’m not convinced Mike Ashley will take the right turn.

“What evidence is there that he is going to change now? He clearly acceded to some of Rafa Benitez’s demands last summer, which is why he stayed on to get Newcastle back up. But it is a different ball game now.

“As soon as promotion was confirmed, and Rafa refused to commit his future to Tyneside, I had to worry.

“Quite simply, he needs about eight new players just to turn Newcastle into a mid-table Premier League team.

“Benitez won’t want to go into next season knowing he has a squad only good enough for a relegation scrap. He won’t have it.

“There is a huge opportunity here for Newcastle to establish themselves again as a top-flight force, but he now needs, at the minimum, a £150million investment in new players.

“And I am not convinced that will happen.”

Meanwhile, United’s season-ending Championship game against Barnsley on Sunday will not be broadcast live by Sky Sports.