Newcastle United round-up: Benitez's contract; Merino comments on future; Woodman update
Newcastle United are enduring a period of uncertainty after the transfer window, with the future of Rafa Benitez being a chief concern for the supporters. The Magpies’ boss is believed to be upset with the board after they broke promises regarding the club’s recruitment this summer. The Mail report that he would have to pay £5 million to quit the club and that he is likely to remain for now. He feels a responsibility to the players that did join the club and doesn’t want to leave them.
There is something not right at Newcastle and Benitez has seen the true colours of the board during the recent transfer window. The Spaniard is an honourable man and it is difficult to see him walking out in the near future, especially with the £5 million release clause in place. However, the relationship between him and the board looks to be beyond repair. It would be a surprise if he is still manager in 12 months’ time.
One player that did arrive during the summer was Mikel Merino. The Spanish midfielder has already made a good impression and looks to be a great pick-up in an inflated transfer market. His future is an issue for concern after a strong start to his Newcastle career and he discussed the terms of his loan deal with the Chronicle:
“Well, it’s a loan with a buyout option for Newcastle. We’ll see how the season progresses and how it all goes. At the moment, what I am thinking is to improve and grow individually as a footballer, because I still have a lot of room to grow. That’s what I’m up to now.”
It looks like the club have managed to pull off one of the deals of the summer with the signing of Merino. He delivered a man-of-the-match display against West Ham and looked every inch a Premier League player. Newcastle will want to keep him and these comments suggest it is a real possibility.
Freddie Woodman has built a good reputation during his short career and was recently brought up to train with the senior England squad. The goalkeeper has a bright future in the game, but the Chronicle suggest that he won’t be given a chance in the Premier League this season. Benitez sees him as a huge talent but believes it is too early to subject him to the pressure of being Newcastle’s number one.
There could be an opportunity for Woodman to break out like Jordan Pickford did at Sunderland later in the season. However, it looks unlikely that he will be picked at this stage. Newcastle have issues in goal and it could be a great decision to blood Woodman, but Benitez favours caution and for that reason, it seems unlikely he will be seen anytime soon.
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