Newcastle boss Benitez: It’s hard to attract players to the Championship

Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid
Rafa Benitez. Picture by Frank Reid

Rafa Benitez feels it would be easy to convince Premier League players to sign for Newcastle United.

But the Magpies’ manager has admitted that the hard part will be persuading clubs to sell or loan targets in this month’s transfer window.

Benitez is interested in bringing Andros Townsend back to St James’s Park, just months after he left to join Crystal Palace.

Eagles manager Sam Allardyce, however, says no player will be leaving Selhurst Park on the cheap.

“Now it’s not about convincing players or not, it’s a question of finding the right one for us,” said Benitez.

“I didn’t have too many in the Premier League that I had to talk to them or convince them.

“Some of them were fine, but maybe their clubs didn’t want to sell or maybe the price was too high, so you don’t waste time.

“Then you have to go abroad and look for different players. It is the same situation. The players doing well at the teams at the top are in Europe, so why do they have to go now?

“Maybe they can wait until next year. With that, we haven’t had too many players saying no because this.

“What we have is prices that are very high which we aren’t even considering.”

Benitez believes that the injuries suffered by Vurnon Anita and Dwight Gayle last weekend underline why he needs to strengthen his squad for the second half of the Championship campaign.

“We need to add to our squad because of the number of games,” said Benitez. “It’s a very physical league.

“Look at Anita. One bad tackle, and you lose a player for five or six weeks. You need the numbers.”

Meanwhile, Allardyce was yesterday asked about the Tynesiders’ interest in Townsend, who joined Palace in a £13million summer deal.

“It depends how much they offer us,” said Allardyce. “I wouldn’t want to sell anyone. But, in this window, you never know what will happen.

“You have to keep your options open.

“Nobody is for sale unless the price is something we cannot afford to turn down.

“If they come and offer us £50m (for Yohan Cabaye), we’re not going to say no. We’re not stupid – you can go and get three players for that.”