Rafa Benitez says Newcastle’s squad is too big – and MUST be ‘fixed’ before transfer deadline

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United are working hard to “fix” their squad before the transfer window closes.

Benitez is hopeful there will be incomings AND outgoings between now and the end of the month.

Newcastle, close to signing Everton defender Brendan Galloway on loan, are also looking to sign a striker and a winger.

And the Championship club, which takes on Reading at St James’s Park tonight looking for its first win of the season, also needs to move on “four or five” players who do not figure in Benitez’s plans.

United will also sell unsettled midfielder Moussa Sissoko – but only at the right price.

Newcastle manager Benitez feels the squad lacks “balance”, and that is something that he and managing director Lee Charnley hope to address before August 31.

It is very clear what we need to do. We still have to sign players because we need to balance the squad. But we also have to sell players.

Rafa Benitez

“It is very clear what we need to do,” said Benitez. “We still have to sign players because we need to balance the squad.

“But we also have to sell players, or allow players to leave, because that is important in balancing the squad as well. If you have 31, 32 or 33 players, it’s impossible.

“Even with 25 players, you cannot keep everyone happy, so with 31 it is impossible, even if you play two games a week.

“We do not need to sell, but we want to fix our squad and to end up with a number of players that will be enough for the Championship, but that will not be much too big.

“I do not want to have players who do not have any chance of playing. At the moment, we have that situation.

“Why? Because the transfer window is open so there are players who know they will almost certainly not be here, but you are waiting for the right offer and the right offer is not coming.

“I might have said to a player ‘you can go’, but where is the offer? It is not coming. Or someone comes in and says ‘I will give you this figure’, but we say ‘no – it has to be double’. That is what is happening now.”

Cheick Tiote, Henri Saivet and Emmanuel Riviere are among those who will be allowed to leave, either on loan or on permanent deals.

Benitez says he talks regularly to those players not in his plans as he looks for a “solution”.

He said: “Some of them, they know the situation because I talk to them face to face and see what they think, what I think is my honest opinion.

“And then we try to move forward together and get the right deal for him, for us.

“So I don’t see too many of them staying here because the wages. I think we will find a solution for almost everyone.”