Immediately after it was revealed that Rafa Benitez would lead Newcastle United into the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, widespread reports stated that the Spaniard wanted most of his business done by July 3rd.
In an ideal world, that’s what most managers would dream of; all deadwood shifted and fresh blood acquired just in time for a vital pre-season.
Benitez is no fool. He knew how unrealistic the proposition sounded. There are various reasons as to why he made these needs public.
It can be seen as a negotiating tactic. If clubs hear of this, then perhaps they’ll recognise that United aren’t going to wait around for them to lower their asking prices.
We all know how political the manager is. Making his wishes known in the public domain also sends a direct message to Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley. He is meticulous and looks for any way to speed things up, giving him more time to focus on the football.
Newcastle fans are growing anxious over the lack of transfer activity on Tyneside. You can understand that, especially given the unpredictability of Mike Ashley.
However, despite what national media say about him being “on the brink”, there is absolutely no way he would even think of quitting because all business isn’t completed by pre-season.
Jamie Carragher’s column in the Daily Mail nailed it. Benitez doesn’t quit, and certainly not over something as minor as this.
United have done more business (ins and outs) so far this summer than Tottenham, Swansea, Bournemouth, Leicester, Watford, Stoke and West Brom.
During his six-year tenure in charge of Liverpool, Benitez signed 59 players and only four of them arrived in May or June.
Saying he wanted to have most of his business done by July 3rd was not a demand; it was a wish.
The transfer market is more inflated than it has ever been. Clubs are demanding ridiculous transfer fees for their players, and agents are demanding ridiculous wages for their players.
When it’s this early in the window, clubs and agents will chance their arm in negotiations, fully knowing that if their demands aren’t met, they will compromise later on in the summer.
My advice? Wait until after the first two weeks of July. If no progress is made, then you can start to worry.