Date: 26th June 2018 at 11:00am
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With the start of pre-season training at Newcastle United just a week away, from the outside things look a million miles away from being ready.

Maybe we’re all in for a surprise when Rafa Benitez and co. pull up in their vehicles next Monday morning but history under Mike Ashley has us all prepared for yet more of the same feeling of being undermined.

It’s pretty certain that Rafa Benitez will be going into the final year of his tenure here with visions of not breaking his contract in a show of loyalty to the fans but that’s where the professionalism ends as Rafa’s ambitions aren’t shared by our regime.

Luckily for Ashley, the ongoing World Cup competition has armed him with an excuse for news diversion or attention diverting with club football being almost forgotten but the return to training next week for the squad will see things put firmly back into the spotlight with the temptation for Rafa Benitez to let slip some cryptic quotes and he’s not slow in playing the political game.

With Spanish media reporting that Mikel Merino is almost certain to go back home due to a release clause seemingly being able to be activated and a clutch of unwanted players not yet giving up their official club training gear, the absence of incoming bodies is more than worrying at present and points to a season of struggle. With time running out in this shorter version of the transfer window, this week is as good a week as any to define our short-term target.

Long-term it’s virtually assured to be without Rafa Benitez.

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