Rafa Benitez did a remarkable job at Newcastle United last season.
The Spaniard was nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Season award after leading the Magpies to 10th in the league - despite working on an extremely limited budget.
While his counterparts were splashing the cash, Benitez had to work largely with the squad that won the Championship in 2016-17.
But five wins from their final nine matches saw Newcastle finish 10th. Benitez certainly surpassed expectations.
The 58-year-old might have expected things to be different this summer, especially after hearing what owner Mike Ashley had to say in May.
“I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him,” Ashley said.
Newcastle fans have learned not to trust Ashley and so they weren’t buying what he had to say.
Benitez's worrying admission
And with just four weeks to go until the new Premier League starts, Newcastle’s squad doesn’t look any better.
They’ve made three signings - Martin Dubravka cost £4 million, Kenedy has re-joined on loan and Ki Sung-yueng was a free transfer.
Compare that to Wolves, who have been hugely ambitious in the transfer window, or West Ham, who spent £36m on Felipe Anderson, and it’s easy to understand why Benitez would be frustrated.
Newcastle are currently in Dublin for pre-season and Benitez had a worrying admission for supporters.
“Unfortunately it's what we have to do," Benitez told Sky Sports News.
"We have to wheel and deal, that is the way for us. And then we try to continue doing the right things.
"As soon as the price goes a little bit higher, I know that we cannot buy them, so we have to be realistic with our budget.”
Asked if the Magpies must sell before they buy, Benitez said: “Yeah, maybe. I think it's normal for us now to think it will be like that.
Benitez went on to admit that he’s not 100 per cent happy with the situation, and nor are the fans.
"What a waste of a great manager," fan @TheJohnWright wrote.
It’s a deeply disappointing situation.
Benitez deserved Ashley’s backing after what he accomplished last season.
Now, it’s hard to imagine why he would want to stay at the club under these circumstances.
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