According to North-East reporter Luke Edwards, Mike Ashley felt there was ‘no point’ signing players on ‘long-term deals’ over the summer – feeling this would make no sense if Rafa Benitez wasn’t willing to commit his future to the club.
It was reported this summer that Benitez would only sign a new deal if Ashley released transfer funds, while Ashley would only release funds if Rafa signed a new deal – suggesting an impasse had been reached between the two.
This story only emphasises that, with it seeming that Ashley was refusing to back Benitez with any long term investments until Rafa committed his long term future to the club.
Here’s a snippet from The Telegraph’s latest piece on the matter:
“Ashley’s view was that there was no point signing players on long-term deals if the manager who brought them to the North East was not going to commit his own long-term future to the project.
“That led to the imposition of a sell-to-buy policy that left Newcastle more than £20 million in profit when the window closed at the start of August.
“Critics have argued Ashley’s stance was an act of self-harm as it deprived Newcastle of the same sort of investment enjoyed by the other Premier League clubs looking to survive this season.
It’s a self harming and petty approach from Ashley.
For a man that claims to be so keen to keep Benitez at the club, it’s hardly an act that suggests he has his backing.