Rafa Benitez says his decision to banish a trio of players to Newcastle United’s Academy is “professional” – and NOT personal.
Tim Krul, Achraf Lazaar and Emmanuel Rivere have been training with the club’s development squad.
Benitez has made the trio available for transfer this summer.
United’s manager is adamant that he needs to move on a number of players to free up space – and generate funds – for more new arrivals ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.
And Benitez says he has been “straight” with the players he is looking to sell in the transfer window.
Asked about the decision to send Krul, Lazaar and Riviere to the Academy, Benitez said: “When you have too many players, what you can do is talk with them straight, and that’s what I did.
“I told them ‘listen, we have too many players – my idea is this one’. We have to be sure that they understand what we want to do.
“You cannot be Championship or Premier League when you don’t have all the squad, all the players, that you want, because we are going a little bit late.
“You have to maximise the time that you have with your players.
“If someone has to stay at the Academy, they have to understand that it’s not personal, it’s professional.”
Krul has played more Premier League games for United than any other player in Benitez’s squad. The 29-year-old, out of contract next summer, was hoping to impress Benitez in pre-season.
However, Benitez is looking to bring in another goalkeeper to compete with Rob Elliot and Freddie Woodman.
Karl Darlow, the club’s Championship-winning goalkeeper, could also leave this summer.
The 26-year-old has only played 25 minutes of football in pre-season, while Krul has not featured at all.
Striker Riviere, meanwhile, spent last season on loan at Osasuna and is not in Benitez’s plans.
The 27-year-old striker’s contract length has never been disclosed by Newcastle, though reports in France he has one year left on his deal.
Defender Lazaar, signed last summer from Palermo, does not have a future at the club. The 25-year-old – who has made one sub appearance in pre-season – has a contract until 2021.