Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has exposed the financial handcuffs that are damaging his bid to build a team equipped to handle the Premier League.

United are not even in the market for £25m players and their failure to land several of Benitez's top targets has dismayed the manager, who admitted yesterday: "I'm not happy."

Benitez insisted, however, that he will stay at Newcastle as clubs and home and abroad monitor his mood. "My Chinese is not good enough," he quipped.

Newcastle's net spending so far is less than £20m, a fraction of what their fans expected because of the income from TV coverage and sell-outs at St James' Park.

"I read our fans saying ‘we will sign a £25m striker’. Listen, we cannot," was the stark warning from Benitez yesterday.

“Sometimes they are unavailable and, if they are available, sometimes the wages are not the same, the commission is not the same and the wages are huge.

"It's very hard – the prices are crazy. I'm not happy, but at the same time it’s a challenge. When I decided to stay it’s because for me it’s a challenge.

"I’m not totally happy with what we did, but I will try to do my best, working very hard with people at the club to try and improve what we have at the moment.

"At the moment, I'm fully committed to do the best that I can do now."

Benitez's mood will brighten this week if United push through a £14m deal for Arsenal striker Lucas Perez.

Their chances improved yesterday when Fenerbahce dropped their interest in the Spaniard after agreeing personal terms.

Arsenal refused to let Perez, 28, go on loan to the Turkish club, while Newcastle are ready to make any deal permanent.

Ironically, Perez is only available because Arsenal have signed Alexandre Lacazette, who had been on Newcastle's transfer radar for several years, according to their former boss Alan Pardew.

“I scouted him the last three or four years," Pardew said. "We had good contacts in France, especially at Newcastle and his name kept coming up, kept coming up and every year he delivers. We couldn’t afford him.

“I think what you have to remember at Newcastle, and it was the same in the period that I was there, is that what the club generates the manager has access to.

"And unfortunately it doesn’t generate the same figures some of the bigger clubs do. Newcastle, as we all know, class themselves as a massive club.

“The money you can get from shirt sponsorship and TV money is all there, but of course that gets used up very, very quickly. I do think they’ve got an armoury there but I think some of the prices they’ve been quoted for players won’t have evolved how they would have wanted.

"But the external money coming into the game from Chinese money, from states - Qatar and the Emirates – and from super stadiums like Arsenal and West Ham and Everton mean these clubs are a little bit advanced from Newcastle.

“I don’t think it’s realistic to expect £100m of transfers. I think that figure would be wages included, probably, and everything that comes in will be balanced against that.

Pardew believes Newcastle must buy at least two more players before the transfer deadline. “There’s still a lot of business to be done in this transfer window and Newcastle will be one of them," he said. "I’ll be very surprised if they don’t spend more than Brighton and Huddersfield.

“One thing you’ve got to have at Newcastle is an entertainer. I would be surprised if they don’t bring what I would call an entertainer, a striker, a flair player who can get those Geordie boys off their seats.

“That will be their strength, their home form. Burnley won ten games at home and you can’t tell me Newcastle can’t do that."