Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Signs Are Promising as Rafa Begins Planning for Next Season; HOPES HIGH FOR CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR MANAGER

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Signs Are Promising as Rafa Begins Planning for Next Season; HOPES HIGH FOR CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR MANAGER

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER Chief sports writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com @lee_ryder

RAFA Benitez has dropped a big hint he is ready to sit down and talk about extending his current contract with Newcastle United.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss is yet to begin serious talks with the Magpies over his future and his existing deal runs out in 2019.

With Newcastle close to securing their Premier League place for the 2018/19 season, Benitez has already started his scouting for next season with around 500 names on an extensive list of potential new recruits. United have torn up the existing strategy in place when Graham Carr was in charge of recruitment with a more technological approach adopted and a scouting nerve centre built next door to the training ground.

Benitez told the Chronicle: "We have improved and changed the scouting department a little bit in terms of moving people around.

"We have a lot of systems now with stats. We see games on TV and also have people travelling around Europe and travelling around the world, it depends on the player.

"We have enough scouts in Europe and we now have two scouts in Spain. There are a lot of players.

"The main thing now is the prices of the players and you need to know the markets because if you go to the English market it is very expensive.

"Germany may be expensive too.

So you need to know the market well.

"It is not even possible to go to the 'cheaper' countries because they can be expensive sometimes.

"We have to go to countries who have players who for years have been doing well."

Newcastle have had some success already thanks to Benitez's knowledge of the Spanish market with former Eibar defender Florian Lejeune impressing at St James' and ex-Osasuna star Mikel Merino also arriving thanks to the Toon manager's contacts.

We advantage Spain have and we to Rafa Benitez added: "We have an advantage here in Spain because we have friends here and we can talk to them.

"We have friends in Italy, Germany and France too.

"So it is a question of finding the right players - it does not matter where they are from.

"We have a lot of people watching games everywhere. …

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