Charnley hits back at Benitez claims
Newcasle managing director Lee Charnley has hit back at Rafa Benitez and said the club's "priority" this summer was to strengthen the first-team squad.
Spanish tactician Benitez decided to walk away from the Magpies and took up a lucrative new job in China with Dalian Yifang before the start of the season after growing increasingly frustrated with what he perceived to be a lack of investment.
It has been claimed Benitez was keen to redevelop the training ground and the academy, but was told any cash available would be used to reshape the playing squad. Newcastle did break their transfer record to sign Brazilian striker Joelinton for £40million this summer, while Allan Saint-Maximin, Emil Krafth, Jetro Willems and Andy Carroll were also new arrivals.
However, the spending was offset by Ayoze Perez’s £30million departure to Leicester and plenty of fans were also not happy with Steve Bruce being brought in to replace Benitez as they viewed the experienced former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Inter Milan chief as someone better equipped to take the club forward, especially compared to the new boss, who has spent much of his career in the second tier.
Charnley has defended the club’s decision-making over the close-season and said it was vital they spent what money was available on new players
He told the Chronicle: “What we have said is it is about priorities. There is a pot of money. Where is the greater need? At this time it’s on the field. It’s not unreasonable, the pot of money can only go so far. You go and spend it on the training ground, it means there is less to spend on the team.
“Spend it on the academy, there is less to spend on the team; spend too much on wages, there’s less to spend on the team. That doesn’t mean we don’t spend in all those areas, because we do, but our view has been at this point in time, the priority is what goes on to the field.”
Charnley says the club do want to update their training facilities when possible but insists the current set-up is “perfectly adequate and functional”.
He added: “Does it mean at some point in time we would like to update the training ground? Absolutely, yes. Our pitches are very good, our gym is perfectly adequate and functional. Do we have a swimming pool or water facilities? No. Would we like to have it at some stage? Absolutely.”