Rafa Admits Ashley System Is 'Tricky'

Last updated : 18 January 2017 By Footy Mad - Editor

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez remains relaxed over the club's transfer policy amid owner Mike Ashley's increasing scrutiny.

Image result for Newcastle v BirminghamReports at the weekend suggested the sportswear magnate has ordered the managing director Lee Charnley and Benitez to target younger players with sell-on value, an approach which has served the Magpies well financially - if not always on the pitch - in recent years.

However, while it is understood Ashley has taken a step closer to affairs after adopting an arm's length approach since Benitez's arrival, the Spaniard remains confident nothing substantial has changed.

Asked if he will still have the final say on transfers, the former Real Madrid boss said: "It doesn't change anything. It is a tricky question, but it is simple to say. What I need is to be sure I have a list of players who we would like to sign.

"Now we are working very hard, we will sign who we need and we will do well and hopefully before the end of the window you will be asking me about the new signings."

Newcastle have expressed interest in the likes of Tom Cleverley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and James McCarthy with little encouragement, and have been put off Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney by a £20million price-tag.

But whatever prompted Ashley to take a closer interest, Benitez is adamant he has not spoken to the owner.

He said: "My communication with the owner is always through Lee Charnley, the managing director, and nothing has changed. Every day we talk about transfers, with our scouts, our agents, and we have the same idea in my head, which is to sign the best players possible."

Newcastle's concentration of players under the age of 26 in recent years meant there were raised eyebrows when they swooped for 33-year-old Ipswich striker Daryl Murphy during the summer, although Benitez insists it is the player and not his age which is important.

He said: "People think I like to sign old players. Our team is one of the youngest, or in the middle, in terms of average in the division. I like to sign young players to develop and improve them and, at the same time, sign players that we need.

"Players like Daryl Murphy, who can make the difference and has been or has to be an important player for us in the season, that is important. I am confident we can sign the players we need."