During an exchange with Newcastle fans on Twitter, the Telegraph’s Luke Edwards has admitted that he understands Rafa Benitez’s summer transfer budget to be around £50m plus player sales – however there’s a bit of a twist that exposes Ashley’s devious approach.
£50m plus player sales sounds pretty healthy (especially when the likes of Mitrovic and Mbemba looking set to hand us an extra £25-£30m), however it’s clearly not as simple as that.
What seems clear is that Mike Ashley factors in much more than the transfer fee when players sign. So, let’s say it is £50m plus player sales is true and we raise £30m from sales. That suggests an £80m budget, leading fans to believe that we could spend that figure on transfers alone.
The truth seems to be that it’s nothing like as simple as that under Ashley, making these budgets much less than meets the eye.
For example, if we somehow managed to agree a £20m fee to sign Kenedy, it wouldn’t be just £20m that comes off this hypothetical budget of around £80m. Ashley would also factor in wages, which could be £2.5m a year on a 4-year-deal, therefore costing the club another £10m – something he’s sure to take away from Rafa’s budget.
If you then factor in agent fees, you’re suddenly looking at him costing over £30m – or at least that’s how the club clearly see it. And this will mean that Rafa’s budget will always be less than it appears, with the club always factoring in every single cost involved.
Luke Edward’s – the Telegraph’s North-East reporter – hints at this here:
I’ve been told but haven’t written it because these numbers are always difficult to be precise about because of wages and so that it will be around £50m plus player sales.
— Luke Edwards (@LukeEdwardsTele) June 15, 2018
It’s a devious move and one most fans may be naturally oblivious to, but this just sums up why Ashley’s way of doing business can be so misleading.
It really shouldn’t work like that, but Ashley’s a penny pincher and clearly wants to cover every single cost – so, with this in mind, you can see why Rafa’s budgets are, in theory, less than what’s claimed, with him having so little freedom to spend.
It may be £50m plus player sales, but if long-term wage packets and agent costs are factored in on top of the actual transfer fee, we’ll appear to spend so much less than what’s claimed in the press.