Benitez provides worrying Newcastle transfer update

Date published: Friday 5th January 2018 3:37

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has still not been told what his January transfer budget is as he attempts to bolster his squad for a Premier League survival battle.

The Spaniard held transfer talks last week and has identified a series of targets, but is yet to be given a figure which will be made available by owner Mike Ashley with takeover talks ongoing – albeit moving slowly.

Asked if there had been any progress on the recruitment front five days into the winter window, Benitez said: “I don’t know exactly what our budget is, so don’t have any news.

“We have to keep working and try to make sure we have our targets because I don’t know. I have to prepare the team.

“We had a meeting last week and had conversations and I am waiting now for news. We had the meeting, talking about options targets and waiting for the numbers. I can’t say any more.

“We don’t talk about names. At the moment we don’t have any movement, so we are waiting.”

The Magpies are hopeful of bringing in Chelsea midfielder Kenedy on loan – a deal which fell through during the summer – and are understood to have had an interest in landing Liverpool striker Danny Ings on a similar basis before it emerged that he is likely to stay at Anfield.

There have been more fanciful links with the likes of Watford frontman Troy Deeney and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, while Everton new boy Cenk Tosun was on their radar, but not at anywhere near £27million.

In the meantime, Benitez will concentrate on Saturday’s FA Cup third round clash with League Two Luton and the process of improving on a miserable recent record in a competition the club has won six times.

He said: “This is the most important game now. Luton are doing well in the league, they will bring a lot of fans and we will try to win this one and then see what happens in the future.

“I understand how important it is – everybody wants to win and win trophies. The reality is we are where we are. We will try to win this game and progress. We will try to manage our games in the best way possible.

“We will try to field a strong team and try to win and go through.”

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