Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has admitted he will have to “wheel and deal” this summer if he is to get the men he wants to rebuild his team.
The 59-year-old Spaniard has endured a frustrating summer to date, with owner Mike Ashley yet to commit significant extra funds to the recruitment progress.
There is also no agreement over the manager’s continued presence at St James’ Park beyond the confines of his existing deal, which has entered its final 12 months, in place.
Asked at the club’s pre-season training camp at Carton House in Ireland if he will have to sell before he can buy during what remains of the summer transfer window, Benitez told Sky Sports: “Yeah, maybe.
“I think it’s normal for us now to be like that. Unfortunately we wheel and deal – it’s the way for us.”
Benitez, who guided the Magpies to an unlikely top-10 finish last season on their return to the Premier League, drew up his plans early and urged the club to “do the right things” to ensure continued development.
To date, they have added only Sparta Prague keeper Martin Dubravka, who has made his loan move permanent, Chelsea winger Kenedy on a season-long loan deal and former Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng to the mix, the latter effectively signed as a replacement for Mikel Merino in the wake of his departure for Real Sociedad after they activated a release clause in his contract.
With Isaac Hayden unsettled and citing personal reasons and speculation that Matt Ritchie could be sold to fund a move for Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend, there could yet be further upheval.
Newcastle missed out on Nice striker Alassane Plea when he opted instead for Borussia Monchengladbach, and Benitez’s budget – he is understood to have around £40million to £50million to spend, plus whatever he can generate himself – appears to be an obstacle.
He said: “As soon as the price goes high, I know we can’t buy them. We have to be realistic with our budget, maybe sell some players and then buy some players. We have to adapt. We know the situation.”
Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic could bring in up to £20million with Fulham, where he spent last season on loan, and Fenerbahce among his admirers, while Matz Sels, Chancel Mbemba, Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback and Henri Saivet are also available.
Their exits would both provide additional finance and lower the wage bill, therefore creating extra room for manoeuvre, although deals are proving difficult to strike.
A potent striker remains at the top of Benitez’s wish-list – West Brom’s Salomon Rondon is a target – after Dwight Gayle and Joselu struggled for goals last season – and the manager insists it is a case of “when – and not if” ahead on the August 9 transfer deadline.