Rafael Benitez claims he never threatened to leave Newcastle over transfers

Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron joined in a club record £20m transfer while Monaco full-back Antonio Barreca also joined on loan until the end of the season, with the option to buy

Bradley West
Friday 01 February 2019 18:10
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Rafael Benitez has claimed he never threatened to leave Newcastle, after his club signed two players on transfer deadline day.

Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron joined in a club record £20m transfer while Monaco full-back Antonio Barreca also joined on loan until the end of the season, with the option to buy.

The suggestion comes after Benitez earlier this week appeared to threaten to leave Newcastle following more transfer issues at the club, with no players signed until the final day of the window.

The Spaniard’s contract at St James’ Park runs out in the summer and he has so far refused any attempts at renegotiation, while a clause which previously would have seen him have to pay £6m if he left is no longer applicable.

When asked if he would quit if no new players arrived, the Newcastle boss replied: “We will wait until Thursday and see what happens.”

In today’s press conference ahead of his side’s clash with Tottenham on Saturday, Benitez said: “Some people said: ‘Rafa will not stay unless they sign players.’ No, I will stay balanced and make a decision later, it doesn’t have to be now. We have plenty of time to sit down and talk.

“I have never said I would leave and I’m not saying just because we’ve signed two players I would sign (another contract).

“I’m happier now than I was one week ago. Why? Because we beat Man City and signed two players. We are better equipped now. I have to be happier than I was before.”

Benitez was also forward with his praise for his two new signings in Almiron, who has featured in the MLS team of the year for the past two seasons, and Barreca, signed as an alternative after their attempts to sign Lazio’s Jordan Lukaku failed.

Rafa Benitez says he did not threaten to quit

“Barreca is an offensive full-back who has pace and a good left foot. Almiron is quick and creative. They are two players who give us something different.

“We are signing two players without experience in the Premier league. We know it may take some time.

“We are signing Almiron for not just this month, even if we need him now, he is here for five years. He can play in different positions, as a number 10 and a winger, and he has pace.”

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