Alan Brazil stated that Newcastle United would be in the Premier League’s top-10 spots currently with Rafa Benitez if he had been given the same transfer budget as Steve Bruce.
A fan texted into Brazil’s breakfast show to point out Bruce had been given “£70million” to improve the Magpies squad, and Brazil seemed to agree that Mike Ashley investing in the squad had made a difference.
“Rafa would probably be in the top-10 now if he had that money,” said Brazil on talkSPORT (8:56am, Tuesday, November 12th).
Steve Harmison responded by claiming Benitez would never have spent the money on signing players due to the implications it leads to.
“I don’t think Rafa wanted to spend it, I honestly don’t think he wanted to spend it as I think it would have put pressure on Rafa to get Newcastle into the top-10 and whether Rafa believed he couldn’t get them into top-10…,” said the former England cricketer.
What is Harmison on about? Benitez guided the Magpies to a 10th-placed finish in the club’s first season back in the Premier League after dropping down to the Championship briefly, before following that up with a 13th-placed finish. So how can Harmison state that Benitez didn’t want to spend in order to avoid pressure being put on to him getting the Magpies into the top-10 as he already had achieved that goal once, without splashing the cash? Also with Benitez guiding his side to a 10th-placed finish previously, that in itself put pressure on him to try and replicate that performance in the following season so that pressure was there regardless of whether he spent money in the transfer market. Also while Bruce has been helped by the Magpies spending £40million on Joelinton, as per BBC Sport, and the club splashing money on signing teammate Allan Saint-Maximin as well, him doing better than expected this season, shouldn’t just be overlooked because he got funds to help him.