Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has identified three targets ahead of the January transfer window, according to reports.
According to The Chronicle, Benitez has already begun work ahead of the January transfer window – with the Spaniard keen to bring in 'another striker, a midfielder and a left-back', the report fails to name any potential players on the Magpies managers radar.
The report states that Benitez is preparing transfer targets for ‘whatever the budgetary constraints might be’, however this does raise a glimmer of hope that he may still be planning for the long-term at Newcastle, despite his current contract running out next summer.
It’s claimed in the report that despite Benitez’s own future in doubt, Mike Ashley’s willingness to release funds and the club’s own direction are all unresolved, the 58-year-old boss has already held discussions with head of recruitment Steve Nickson to assess the options in the new year.
There is a feeling of unrest once again this season after a difficult start to the season, with the January window potentially being just as critical to the Magpies hopes of staying in the Premier League.
The Spaniard has reportedly made enquiries with the hope that this time, the Tyneside club might act quicker than they have done in the last three windows.
Whether this is a sign of future planning at a club, where he has a matter of months left of his existing contract is not clear. However, it raises at least a little bit of hope that Benitez’s vision for Newcastle remains a long-term one, rather than just a short-term salvage job.
Recently the Newcastle boss stated: "We can talk about January and what is going on, but after January... Have we done what we had to do or not? Then you have more answers to your questions [about my future], but I think now it’s too early.”
Benitez wants talk of his future to dampen for now: “All the things that have happened during the summer have to be forgotten. Then we can talk about the contract, maybe, in April, We have plenty of time to talk.
“We have to concentrate on what we can have an influence on, and that is the team and preparation for games and whatever.”