Rafa Benitez returned to Newcastle United and insisted he could keep every player he wanted – AND add to his squad.
Benitez yesterday committed himself to the relegated club.
The 56-year-old – who will be the highest-paid manager in the history of the Championship – signed a revised three-year contract at St James’s Park
Benitez had held talks with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley before making his decision.
The Spaniard – who has been given full control of transfers – was promised that he would NOT have to sell any player.
And he was also given assurances that he could also strengthen the club’s squad for what will be a gruelling and demanding campaign in English football’s second tier.
Asked about keeping players, Benitez said: “Obviously, I’m really pleased about that.
“I said before I was very happy with the players and the commitment of the players, so to keep these players if I want to keep them is massive because we have a good team.
“We saw that in the last games. I think in the Championship we will be even stronger and if we can keep them it’s a very good message for us.”
Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum, Daryl Janmaat, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote have all been linked with moves away this summer, while Steven Taylor is out of contract.
Benitez, however, is yet to speak to any of his players about their futures.
He said: “I haven’t had time (to talk to the players).
“I am quite serious, so I have been waiting to sign and then after we will start working and talking with players.”
Benitez, crucially, has also been promised funds for signings.
“We can keep every player if we want – and we can bring players if we need them,” he said.
“How much we have, that is for us, but we can bring players and still we can keep all the players that we want.”
On his role overseeing transfers, Benitez added: “When I said football operations and I also said that my relationship with Lee Charnley is quite good.
“I am not someone who is obsessive and says ‘I have to have control over this and that’.
“No, just to be sure that we can things in the football way and in the right way. I have these assurances so that is all fine.”