Hearing Rafa Benitez spell it out, it’s difficult to imagine why anyone wouldn’t take a swing on making big investments in the transfer market.
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It’s also certainly not as cut-and-dried as the Newcastle United manager makes it sound — players can, after all, flop and devalue — and it’s worth noting that most skeptics would note that Magpies owner Mike Ashley is incredibly stubborn with the club’s money.
Yet as Benitez and Newcastle discuss a new contract and record signing Miguel Almiron reinvigorates the Magpies attack, it’s worth noting that Rafa is recalling one of the great success stories this decade, and his involvement with it. From Sky Sports:
“When I signed for Napoli the president Aurelio De Laurentiis had ambition and he wanted to improve. He wanted to go to Europe and be there every year. So we signed Reina, Higuain, Albiol, Mertens, Callejon with money from Cavani. Selling Cavani got us around £60m.
“The year after we signed Koulibaly and Jorginho. Just by selling Higuain and Jorginho, the club got 140m so it was a massive profit. And they still have Koulibaly and all these players and you know the prices of these players.
“They have guaranteed in the last four years to be in Europe – either in the Europa League or the Champions League. That means when you have the potential you can do that. You can see the potential here. That is what you are looking for.”
Like Newcastle, Napoli had a fall from grace. Unlike Newcastle, the Neapolitan side has reclaimed its status in Europe.
Rafa’s convinced the fans, but has he convinced Ashley? Because there’s a lot more money in European competition than there’s dough in a failing relegation scrap under a lesser manager.