With Manuel Pellegrini set to be appointed as West Ham manager in the next ’48 hours’, the Mirror report that Rafa Benitez has decided to stay at St James’ Park – claiming Mike Ashley has ‘agreed to bankroll a summer spending spree’ at NUFC.
I’ll take this with a pinch of salt for now, but this a big claim and a hugely positive development if true – although how much Rafa has to spend this summer is only half the battle. Showing we’ll learn from our mistakes and give him power to make things happen is key.
Back to the Mirror’s story, and it’s now looking almost certain that Benitez will not be heading to the Hammers, with ex-Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini all set to be appointed instead.
This comes as good news in itself after serious fears last week that Benitez may actually entertain an odd-looking move to the London Stadium, but claims that Ashley has now ‘agreed’ to back Benitez in a bid to keep him is an ever bigger breakthrough (if true!):
“Rafa Benitez decided to stay at Newcastle, where owner Mike Ashley has agreed to bankroll a summer spending spree.
“West Ham made him their first choice and were initially confident of landing him after receiving a positive response following initial contacts with his camp.
“But the Londoners finally admitted defeat last week after learning Newcastle were prepared to back the fan-favourite Spaniard in a bid to keep him.”
Rafa wants to stay here, so any signs that Ashley could be willing to give him something close to what he wants would be a big step forward.
Who knows how close to the truth these claims are, but this is far more positive than the claims being made about Benitez’s future this time last week.
Progress is needing to be made, with talks appearing to have drifted for several weeks now, so lets’ hope this is the breakthrough we and Benitez have been desperate to hear.