July 20, 2018 / 8:54 AM / 2 months ago

Benitez braces for survival battle with inactive Magpies

(Reuters) - Newcastle United’s primary goal of retaining Premier League status next season has been made more difficult due to the club’s lack of transfer activity, manager Rafa Benitez has said.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Newcastle United vs Hellas Verona - Pre Season Friendly - Newcastle, Britain - August 6, 2017 Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez watches on Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough/File Photo

The Spaniard has often alluded to Newcastle’s poor transfer business, saying earlier this week that the club must “wheel and deal” as they chase realistic targets on a tight budget.

“We have to fix a target to stay up — that is it. Concentrate on staying up, and after that see where. It will be more difficult than last year,” Benitez told Chronicle Live.

“The reality is the Premier League is difficult and every year the others spend money and bring new players. You don’t know because we finished 10th this year, we can be in the middle next season because everyone is spending.”

Newcastle have re-signed Kenedy on loan from Chelsea and recruited South Korea captain Ki Sung-yueng and Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for an undisclosed fee from Sparta Prague.

Magpies owner Mike Ashley promised significant investment when the club earned promotion to the top flight in 2017 but funds have yet to materialize, leaving Benitez struggling with a thin squad.

Newcastle begin the campaign with a home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on Aug. 11.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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