Rafa Benitez sheds light on Newcastle United's training ground improvements

Rafa Benitez has laid bare the need for investment in Newcastle United’s training ground.

By Miles Starforth
Tuesday, 02 July, 2019, 06:00
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez’s association with the club ended on Sunday when his managerial contract expired.

The 59-year-old – who turned down the offer of a new one-year deal at St James’s Park – is set to be appointed as manager of Chinese side Dalian Yifang.

Benitez, however, had wanted to stay at Newcastle, the club he joined in March 2016.

At the time, he was shown United’s plans for a “state-of-the-art” training ground, which were first revealed by the club in 2013.

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“When I came to Newcastle, they gave me the plans for the new training ground,” Benitez told The Times. “I was talking to the architect about changing a few things. And, after three years, they painted the walls.

“If you want to attract players, it’s about the facilities, the contract, the city, the way you treat them, the way you treat the agents. If you want to keep them happy, you keep improving.”

Benitez says he didn’t ask for a £100million transfer budget, as reported by some outlets, when he met owner Mike Ashley for talks in May.

“I didn’t ask for any money,” said Benitez. “I just wanted to know how much (there was to spend). The club put out some information about the budget being around £50million plus the money from sales and that was fine. I wasn’t complaining. I knew it was the reality. It was about managing the budget you have – that was the key.”