The Chronicle have revealed that Rafa Benitez is open to planning a long-term stay at Newcastle United, however he is yet to be contacted by Mike Ashley over a potential contract extension – despite claims in the media that talks had begun.
After being let down on countless occasions over the last three transfer windows, many felt as though Rafa would only remain at the club if Mike Ashley left, however Benitez is believed to be ‘open’ to extending his current deal if an agreement can be made with the NUFC board.
On a positive note, this gives us hope that Benitez may yet find a way to remain at the club with Ashley still in charge. Obviously we are all dreaming of a summer scenario where we stay up, get rid of Ashley and bring in new owners who are capable of keeping Rafa happy and matching his ambition, but there’s a strong chance we have to put up with Ashley a little longer.
With that in mind, the way things could work with Ashley and Benitez both at the club is of vital importance – and this update gives us mixed signals. Rafa is ‘open’ to extending his stay (with his current deal expiring in 2019), but contact is yet to arrive from Mike Ashley.
Here’s a snippet from this insightful piece from the Chronicle:
“The Toon boss is open to planning a long-term plan at Newcastle and wants more control over the club’s Academy and Under-23 set-up.
Benitez has also made alterations to the club’s scouting system with the club compiling a database of over 500 potential targets over the next few years.
Ashley may stay away from St James’ Park these days, but he knows that Newcastle are a much more attractive proposition with the former Real Madrid man at the helm.
Were Ashley to remain in charge, Benitez would also give Newcastle the best chance of turning the club from relegation fodder to a stable top-10 outfit.
Yet Benitez will want assurances from his board if he is to sign an extension to his current deal, which runs out in 2019.
After problems getting the targets he asked for in the last three windows, Benitez will need to see Newcastle match his own vision.”
What’s your take on all of this folks?
Can we have a world (beyond this summer) where Benitez copes with an NUFC run by Mike Ashley?