Boss still in dark over January budget

Rafa Benitez's patience at Newcastle wearing thin as Mike Ashley returns from holiday

Newcastle's manager has outlined his ideas to owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley - and he's still waiting for the club to move on his targets.

However, while Benitez may be prepared to do business with some of his fringe players - Jack Colback is perhaps the most high-profile - he has no intention of cashing in on men he believes can aid the club's cause.

Benitez was left frustrated after the club failed to sign a player last January.

"We won't sell unless we can replace with better players", Benitez added.

"As soon as I found out Newcastle were interested, there was only one place to go, but obviously I don't want to see them go down, because I want to play against them and I have mates in their team", said Shelvey, signed in January 2016 for £12million. "We are not thinking of selling players that are playing already". I have to concentrate on games and Saturday is an important game for us.

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The 57-year-old told reporters: "We have a lot of people working, talking to agents, giving us names and options".

Benitez's decision to hand the 24-year-old the captaincy 18 months ago has been vindicated with Lascelles proving an inspirational leader and articulate spokesman for the squad.

"But to have a chance to do that, he has to continue working hard and improving".

Progress on incoming signings remains painfully slow, with a loan deal for Chelsea midfielder Kenedy now the brightest prospect, and in the meantime the manager is concentrating only on Saturday's home clash with Swansea and the task of easing the club further clear of the drop zone. "A massive game for them, a massive game for us".

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