For the first time, Rafa Benitez has refused to guarantee that he won’t walk before the end of the season – suggesting he could quit THIS week if no signing arrive before Thursday’s 11pm deadline.
Not only that, the Spaniard felt he could not even give season ticket holders reason to renew – and I don’t blame him.
Here’s what he’s had to say when asked if he could guarantee that he would not quit – with it now confirmed that he can walk for free after a £6m clause expired:
“No, I cannot guarantee anything. We will wait until Thursday and see what happens,”
“I guarantee I will be focussed and try to do my best every minute…”
“I want to do things well. Again I will say, if I decide to stay in the Championship to do my job and to finish my job in the way that I like to do things. I have some principles.”
Here’s what he then said when asked why the club have been left in this predicament with no signings and just 48 hours of the window left:
“It’s not a question for me,”
“The way things are going on here, I can say yes or not to the proposals that I receive. I can give some names but I don’t do any negotiations, anything. In the end I can say yes or not so you give me this or that I can choose one or the other one. That’s it. I can say yes if we need that.”
This really does feel like a massive moment – the first time Rafa has practically given in and suggested he can’t cope working under these conditions anymore. He’s never broken a contract in his career, but who would blame him if he did?
This now creates a big dilemma for fans heading to the game tonight. There’s a feeling that we must sing our hearts out for Rafa, just incase this is his final game at St James’ Park, but the need to up the pressure on Ashley feels just as vital.