During a recent piece for Sky Sports, Sky’s North-East correspondent Keith Downie has admitted that Rafa Benitez is currently ’50:50′ on whether to sign a new contract at Newcastle United as it stands – however he would ‘100%’ stay if Staveley took over at the club.
After getting over that precious 40-point mark following the win over Arsenal a few weekends ago, attentions have turned to the Spaniard’s future, with the gaffer only contracted for one more season at St James’ Park.
During a piece on Sky website this week, Downie has insisted that Benitez is happy and could yet stay if Ashley remains at the club this summer – but he would need proof that he would receive backing before committing to any long-term contract due to Ashley’s broken promises in the past:
“He has intimated that tentative talks have begun over his future but I think they are at a very early stage,”
“I think a lot of it will depend on what happens with the takeover. I’ve previously said that if the takeover didn’t happen, he wouldn’t stay, but recent results have made me re-think that slightly. I think if Mike Ashley was to promise him funds in the summer, he might sign a long-term contract.
“That said, he feels he has been made promises before that haven’t been kept in the past, so he would need to have something in writing or see something tangible about the financial backing in order to put pen to paper.”
“If Amanda Staveley’s takeover does go through, Benitez will be expected to commit to a longer contract.
“If that happens I think he will 100 per cent stay because he has been key in that process, but as it stands now it’s 50:50 whether it will happen or not,”
“The issue now is that the more Newcastle win and the better they play, the more the value of the club rises, which will make it tougher to push through the takeover. The fans are loving the recent form and they deserve that, but for every place in the table, you gain more money, which might make Ashley more reluctant to sell.
“It’s a fine balance but what is certain is that Rafa is happy in Newcastle. He loves the club and he loves the city. He wants the club’s potential to be realised under his watch.”
It’s positive, in a sense, to hear that Rafa could yet stay even if Ashley is in charge as that is looking more and more likely, but I really do struggle to see how the NUFC owner will agree to show the sort of ambition Benitez requires.
A takeover is the dream, but the key in all of this is keeping Benitez for me.
In the long-term, we need Ashley gone if we’re ever going to see Benitez’s big plans for Newcastle come off, but right now Rafa is the glue that is holding this club together.
Do the right thing Mike – either sell up or get behind your manager in the mean time.