Rafael Benitez has delivered contradictory messages over Newcastle United's transfer plans during the remainder of the summer - hinting the club's activity in the transfer market may have come to a close. In two separate interviews the Spanish boss, who signed a three-year deal to remain in the north east despite the Toon suffering relegation from the Premier League, contradicted himself over whether further players would be sold.
Andros Townsend became the first major exit following relegation after the England winger moved to Crystal Palace six months after arriving at St James' Park. The exit came amid the arrival of Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie - who join goalkeeper Matz Sels as the Magpies' three close-season additions.
Despite dropping into the second tier of English football and the prospect of a season in the Championship, Newcastle are yet to lose many of their highest earners and look well set for a tilt at promotion. Benitez initially claimed however that for further signings to be made players could have to leave - before backtracking on the claim that sales were essential.
"We were working to get some players ready, and then we did three in a row," he said on Monday at a schools' event at Benton Academy, according to The Chronicle. "We are still working. We have some players there (and) ready. The difficult thing about the market is that you have to buy and you have to sell. So that depends on if you receive offers for players that maybe we consider that they can leave, and after, also, try to find the right players for us."
But the Newcastle boss appears to have gone back on that pledge by suggesting that no further players will be offloaded - hinting perhaps that the club's business in the summer might be over. Benitez was resigned to losing Townsend due to his release clause but does not expect further departures.
"We knew we might lose players, especially Andros because he had a great season and he wanted to play in the Premier League," Benitez told Sky Sports. "Then you have to react quickly and we were ready. The week before we had two or three signings ready.
"I'm happy with the players that we have and we don't have to sell anybody. Maybe some clubs will come in [with transfer offers] and we will have to analyse each one. We know it will be very tough for us next season, we have to concentrate on a different division and the motivation has to be there. We have to be ready."
One player who has left Newcastle is club captain Fabricio Coloccini, who has had his contract terminated after agreeing to return to San Lorenzo. The Argentine centre-back made 26 Premier League appearances for the Magpies last season as they were relegated to the second tier, with his departure bringing an end to eight years with the club