Takeover talk has re-surfaced and you get the sense speculation is here to stay until the future of the club and Benitez is resolved. Rafa knows he represents hope for Newcastle fans and we are lucky enough that he can see the potential at Newcastle and wants to stick around to realise it; or be the man to finally deliver us a trophy.
The main obstacle in all this as all NUFC fans know is Mike Ashley. Unlike January, he can’t dither again this summer – he has to act, Rafa won’t be here come August if he does that again. Ashley won’t view Benitez with the admiration fans do but even a business man, Rafa is a massive asset to the club and he must be appeased.
Mike now has two options – cough up, or sell up…
Cough up – show Rafa you’re ready to deliver on his demands
There have been some telling quotes from Rafa in the last week or so; he wants top 8 and to be challenging for honours. This ambition should be celebrated and supported, not condemned. He’s clearly open to staying if Ashley can back him and show he’s got a business plan to achieve his ambitions, however this will take serious investment. For example, even signing the loan stars who have changed our season won’t be cheap and likely over £50m. Slimani would cost best part of £15/20m – Kenedy, would break our transfer record and Dubravka £4m.
There is also refusing big bids for players Rafa does want to keep too, like our skipper Lascelles. Of course, on top of the loan players, we likely need another £100m to sign 3/4 good quality players who can add to the squad and make an impact on the first XI. it’ll take serious investment if we’re to threaten that top 6, north of £150m. We do have some players to sell, Mitrovic, Mbemba etc to help – but Mike has to spend some of that TV money – no excuses this time.
Sell up – Sell the club to someone capable of matching Rafa’s ambition
Let’s be honest, I and most others will be far from convinced that Ashley will be willing to break our transfer record to sign Kenedy, sign a proper, proven goalscorer and actually giving Rafa the tools he needs to attack the top 8. The Chronicle claim Ashley is set to offer Rafa a new contract and give him the green light to spend but Rafa needs more than that. He’s made too many errors and lied too many times for Rafa to fall for that one again and commit to a long-term contract.