Rafa Benitez has confirmed that contract talks will have to wait until after the January transfer window – admitting that they should happen during the season, but insisting that his focus is simply winning his next game until the time comes.
With the gaffer’s contract expiring next summer, talks began over an extension at the start of the year and extended into the early stages of the summer, however it seems they have stalled – with Rafa refusing to commit until certain assurances were delivered.
It’s since been reported that Ashley was refusing to release funds until a new deal was signed, so it seems all parties reached an impasse.
Benitez has been asked about the whole situation once again today, admitting that talks will have to wait until ‘after January’ – with him preferring to focus on football and not his future whilst we are still searching for our first win of the season:
“To be fair, I have been talking with fans around the city, and they know what the situation is – but at the same time, they know that we will continue doing our best until the end.
“So they know that we have to wait, then we will decide after January when we will talk about that (my future). But they are sure that we will continue doing our best every single game until the end. That’s what we have to do.
“I think (we will have more contract talks) during the season, but I will not waste too much energy with that because we need to win the next game. That’s it.”
As frustrating as it may be, this is the best approach it seems.
In an ideal world, Rafa would come out tomorrow and confirm he’s signed a new deal, but it feels like any contract talk may only disrupt what has already been quite an unsettling start to the season.
It’s also a wise move from Rafa, with him potentially giving Ashley his final chance to prove himself in the January transfer window.
His backing, or lack of it, then (especially if we’re in trouble) will tell Rafa everything he needs to know.