Let’s face the facts here people: Rafa Benitez has been “rumored” to leave Newcastle a ridiculous amount of times since he arrived here, and he has left Newcastle a grand total of 0 times. So stop freaking out, and understand that he’s likely not leaving. Here are three reasons why.
Mike Ashley isn’t that dumb
Okay, Mike Ashley usually is the worst when it comes to doing what is best for the club, and fans have surely let everyone know how they feel about the owner of NUFC. But, when it comes to Rafa Benitez, Mike Ashley has surprisingly done a great job of not screwing this up.
Last summer he let Rafa build the team how he wanted, even allowing Ashley to sign players that Newcastle traditionally wouldn't sign because of their lack of value, such as Daryl Murphy or Mo Diamé who were both much older than a typical Ashley Era signing. This support for Rafa and what he was doing, and this hands off approach that Rafa wanted lasted throughout the season despite a minor hiccup in January.
Moving forward to the end of the season, Ashley convinced Rafa to stay on for a few more years by promising him complete control of all of the transfers, and the money that comes with that. This made fans incredibly excited about this upcoming window.
Mike has come through for Newcastle Fans when it comes to Rafa. The media has stirred up speculation about Rafa leaving or being close to leaving, because of frustrations with Rafa. Whether these frustrations are true, we do know that Rafa hasn’t left us yet, and that speaks levels to his loyalty to the team and Ashley’s loyalty to him.
Graham Carr is Gone
Graham Carr recently left the club after serving as the head scout for Newcastle for 7 years. During his tenure, Carr was known to be the key decision maker, regardless of who was the manager, when it came to who the club brought in. This led to a whole lot of French signings, some missed opportunities, but overall a decent haul of players including Jonjo Shelvey, Loic Remy, Gini Wijnaldum, Chieck Tioté, and Demba Ba.
That being said, when it was announced both times that Rafa would have more and more control over who was brought into the cub, it began to seem as if Graham Carr should be a little worried after having control over 46 signings during his time at Newcastle. The fact that Rafa wanted to make signings that Carr typically wouldn’t make also should have worried the head scout, and eventually Carr ended up jobless.
Carr didn’t leave Newcastle without a fight and that is evident when you looked at what happened in January, when Newcastle made no signings. Many fans were quick to blame Mike Ashley for not wanting to splash the cash, but given that Newcastle had profited nearly 33 million Pounds last Summer and were in the middle of one of the most profitable seasons in the Ashley Era when Newcastle was on pace to reach 1 million fans entering through the gates of St. James’ Park, that looked to be less and less likely. Luckily, our friends over at The Chronicle recalled an important moment of January in their article on Graham Carr’s departure that shed some light on the situation.
“Then after a Sunday newspaper report in early January, following the 2-1 win at Brentford, read: “The owner has put his foot down midway through the transfer window and taken measures to have a greater say over the comings and goings at St James’ Park.”
It also stated that: “Graham Carr is set for a direct role in all future purchases.”
Yes, I know it looks like this is Ashley’s fault that we didn’t purchase anyone in the Transfer window. But, I wholeheartedly believe Ashley’s “measures to have a greater say over the comings and goings at St James’ Park” was to appoint his buddy Graham Carr a direct role in transfer business. One, that he did not have last summer, giving him more power over transfer business than Rafa wanted. Rafa and Carr not being on the same page inevitably led to a dull January widow, where seemingly every team and their father’s Sunday league team improved, except Newcastle.
The fact of the matter is that January aside, Rafa and Graham Carr have different visions for what they want in a player, so eventually one had to leave. This is clear in a statement Rafa made earlier in the year that straight up subtweets Graham Carr for mostly scouting in Spain, France and Holland. Here’s another excerpt from that Chronicle article.
“Previously Carr had enjoyed a free rein when it came to scouting missions with Holland, France and Spain among his regular jaunts.
Benitez, though, wanted to be much more extensive across the Continent and stated publicly last August: “For me, it doesn’t matter where the player comes from, as long as he has the right mentality, character and the quality we need.
“Sometimes it is true that there is better value in other countries in Europe but we look at players from every league, it does not matter the country.
“We had a meeting with the Scouting Department at the start of the season to clarify the way to work and we constantly share information about players to be sure we can find what we need it doesn’t matter where they are from.”
Like I said: Ashley had to choose between Rafa or Carr in order to move the club forward and he chose Rafa. Carr being gone gives Rafa complete control over scouting, signings, etc. and makes him the negotiator in all of these transfer dealings. A guy doesn’t leave when he has all of that power.
Everyone is Just Bored Right Now
Fans, I ask you all to think critically for just five minutes.
Newcastle have had the most uneventful month that they have had in a while. We are recently promoted and it is transfer season , yet we have made no signings. Yeah, it sucks, and it sucks to write about (trust me I know). It seems as if all of our competitors (even those losers over at Sunderland) have had something to write about , whether it has been the thought of a star player leaving , the thought of bringing in a star player, or the fact that LITERALLY NOBODY WANTS TO MANAGE YOUR TEAM (LOL SUNDERLAND). Meanwhile, Newcastle writers have only had random transfer rumors conjured by unreliable Portuguese Newspapers and random 12-year-olds running transfer twitter accounts. That being said, it has been tough to create content if you are a writer focusing on Newcastle United. This has led to some somewhat lazy journalism that drums up interest and explains why we haven’t signed anyone yet: this whole idea that Rafa is upset.
We’ve seen this narrative before in the exact same circumstances, in January and last summer. Both times when Newcastle writers have had to endure a month of no transfer business. I am not saying everyone covering Newcastle is doing this. In fact both The Mag and The Chronicle have managed to pump out ridiculous amounts of content without focusing on this whole Rafa deal. However, it is easy for a lot of bloggers, journalists and fans to buy into this idea that Rafa could leave based simply on the fact that we are midway through the summer and we have signed absolutely nobody.
When reading stories about Rafa leaving they all have two things in common, they claim Rafa is upset because he can’t have his way in the transfer market, and they all have no legitimate source saying that Rafa is upset.
Besides the fact that Rafa has never said that he wanted to leave the club and that no paper has ever quoted him or any of his friends, family or staff saying that he wants to leave. You have to consider one other thing in dealing with these Rafa rumors: Logic.
All of these rumors say that Rafa is upset with Ashley over transfer dealings. If you look at all of our rumored moves so far, none of these moves have failed because we did not offer enough money. In fact we are even linked to overpaying for some guy none of us have even heard of. It is very evident that this window, guys are simply choosing other teams over us. Semedo and Abraham both did this, and we were known to be finalists for each one of their signatures. The same can be said for Fabian Delph and Mangala who are reportedly moving on to different clubs after being linked to Newcastle.
Fans have to face facts that some guys are not going to choose to come to Newcastle. Outside of the club’s rich history, passionate fanbase, and that they are in the most competitive football league on the planet (sorry NFL), there’s not much that would make a footballer want to move to Northeast England.
Come to Newcastle where it is cold and Rainy almost year round.
It is literally like convincing a basketball player to come to Syracuse. Even though Syracuse has produced legendary players such as Carmelo Anthony, been to multiple Final Fours and has a legendary coach in Jim Boeheim; it’s still Syracuse, NY and the weather sucks.
One last thing on transfer business and Rafa rumors. Don’t worry too much about transfers. We made 12 signings last summer, yeah that’s correct 12. The first one was Matz Sels and we signed him on June 29. Rafa made a lot of signings in July, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again.
Remember to take these simple facts into account when reading these stories. Everything in football is speculation nowadays and you always need to make sure that you are thinking critically and checking sources when you are browsing the interwebs for Newcastle News
So calm down, take a deep breath because Rafa Benitez will still be here in 3 months.