Rafa Benitez is targeting midfield reinforcements at Newcastle United – but he isn’t certain he’ll be able to find the right recruits.
Benitez has money to spend in next month’s transfer window after the club turned in a £30million-plus profit on its summer transfer business.
United’s manager is looking to “balance” his Championship-leading team.
But Benitez will NOT spend unless he is certain that a player is better than what he already has at St James’s Park – and available at the right price.
Asked if he was looking for Premier League players in the window, Benitez said: “What you need is balance.
“Maybe we need a midfielder. Maybe we need a winger.
“But we have players in every position, a couple of them. So we’re not looking for this or that.
“We know that there are some good Premier League players, or Ligue 1 or in Spain.
“If you can find these players at the right age and price, and they can play in the Championship, there are not too many who want to come and or not too many that will take the risk.
“They maybe say ‘I wait and maybe next year I go’.
“You have young players (available), but they say £20million.
“Do you need to pay £20million for a player when you’re at the top of the table with a good squad and doing well? Maybe not.
“We are trying to find this balance. If we cannot, we can go.
“For us, in our position and for our fans, we need to sign players with a Premier League level or players that can be better than the players that we have.”
That is not easy to find these players in the Championship market.”
Benitez insists his talks with managing director Lee Charnley have revolved around players, and not price tags.
“We were not talking about money,” he said. “My conversations with Lee have been about players, not money.
“We have a good squad. You go to the Championship and try to see players that would maybe better than your players. There are not too many.
“Why do we have to go and pay £20million for a player that’s not better than my players? You go to the Premier League and other leagues. They earn more money and say ‘why do I have to go to the Championship?’.
“You have to be realistic and try to find the piece you need to balance your team.”
Benitez says midfielder Cheick Tiote is the only player is the only player he envisages selling next month, though goalkeeper Freddie Woodman will go out on loan now Rob Elliot has returned from long-term injury.
Mitrovic has been linked with a number of clubs, including Crystal Palace and West Ham United.
“Freddie Woodman will go on loan,” said Benitez. “We have three keepers, and I’m really pleased with them.
“I was talking with Rob (Elliot), Matz (Sels) and Karl (Darlow). You have to stay there, compete and see what happens.
“If someone comes from China and says ‘I will offer you millions’, obviously, you have to think about it. But I am talking about keepers, because we have three, but if you talk about strikers or midfielders, why do I need to lose a striker and if I have an injury and we have 24 games to play.
“We don’t want to sell anyone if it’s not necessary. The only one we are open (to selling) is Cheick.”