There’s some movement at the Newcastle United training ground, but it’s not the kind of movement that supporters would be hoping for. Around 4pm local time, Lee Charnley arrived at the grounds for the first time on the day, having finally emerged from his chrysalis attached to the overhang above Mike Ashley’s patio. Nice of him to show up.
Lee Charnley just arrived at the training ground #NUFC @lee_ryder @MsiDouglas pic.twitter.com/C38itik3Jl— Chris Brennan (@Chris_brennan91) August 31, 2017
Shortly after, Rafa was seen leaving the grounds, apparently after having a brief discussion with Charnley:
Rafa Benitez has left the Newcastle training ground after a brief meeting with Lee Charnley, who arrived after 4pm.— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 31, 2017
Before jumping to conclusions, this could mean one of a number of things. It’s entirely possible that Charnley came to tell Rafa that he had done the job, a signing was ready to come over the line and that the private jet was gassed up and waiting for Benítez. It’s also possible that Charnley came to tell Rafa that there was no business to be done today, sending the manager home. A third and equally likely option is that Rafa can’t stand being in the presence of Charnley, and decided to do the rest of his business from home.
We don’t know how the remaining seven hours of the transfer window will play out, but it’s likely that, when all is said and done, we will be able to look back on this as a sign of what was to transpire.