During a recent piece by the Chronicle on Mike Ashley’s current stance at the club, it was revealed that the NUFC owner could be set to ‘take a step back’ from things this summer – leaving discussions over Benitez’s transfer budget and new contract to Lee Charnley.
Now, whether this could spell good or bad news for Benitez is open for debate, however I would argue the former (even though it may suggest he’s relaxed about all things NUFC; suggesting a takeover is hardly on the horizon).
When it comes to footballing matters though, I’d rather he wasn’t involved. As Rafa has often made reference to in press conferences, Lee Charnley tends to be the man he liaises with – being the middle man between Benitez and Ashley when it comes to the decision making at the club.
With this in mind, there’s a relationship that exists there (unlike Ashley and Benitez who are probably in touch very rarely), so any discussions over a new deal or potential transfer budgets may be more successful and fluent if conducted between the manager and managing director.
Here’s the intriguing line from Lee Ryder piece for the Chronicle on Ashley’s potential approach to this summer:
“We understand that Ashley may even take a step back in the summer and leave discussions about the transfer budget and a new contract to managing director Lee Charnley.
“Ashley has not appeared at St James’ Park this season and has left the running of the club to Charnley, Keith Bishop and Justin Barnes.”
Charnley’s hardly a man I have a great deal of faith in, with the finger often pointed at him when seemingly imminent signings break down, but anything Ashley is involved in worries me. In that case, leaving the footballing matters to Charnley and Rafa – two men who seem to speak fairly regularly – could be a welcome move.
That being said, it’s key that Ashley doesn’t go AWOL (e.g January when Rafa needed to know his budget) and makes things clear so Benitez, Charnley and the club can move forward in his potential absence.
Benitez is going to be a busy man this summer if he agrees to stay, so it’s absolutely essential that communication is improved, lessons are learned from and he’s armed with the tools to get on with the big task in hand.
What do you make of this folks? Would you welcome the idea of Ashley ‘taking a step back’ from it all this summer or does he need to tackle this all head on to ensure everyone’s on the same page?