Just a few days on from admitting there is ‘no update’ regarding progress on his future talks on Tyneside, Rafa Benitez has once again called for the NUFC board to ‘clarify’ their ambitions going forward – admitting that the club must be able to ‘compete’ next season.
The Spaniard stated just last Friday that, to date, there had been no progress on his talk between him, his representatives and the power that be at NUFC.
There’ll be a lot to thrash out, but Benitez is clearly keen to get this sorted ‘as soon as possible’, with him wanting to crack on with transfer plans (not future talks) as soon as our final game of the season ends on Sunday.
During Sky’s latest piece on Rafa’s recent talks with the club, here’s what the Spaniard has had to say.
“To do the right things, as I have said many times before.
“That means to clarify our ambitions going forward. I have to say what I have to say, and that is very clear. Everybody, and all the fans, they have the same feeling as me. So it is something we need to clarify.”
“I’ve had three challenges since I came here. We tried to keep the team in the Premier League, we couldn’t do it,”
“The second one was to go up in the first attempt in the Championship, and we did it, and the third to stay up, and we did it. I’m quite happy overall with the challenges, but still I’d like to compete for something.
“It’s not that we want to come to places against a top side and think that if we lose 1-0 we can protect our goal difference. That is what I don’t like to do, I want to know we can win.”
It’s quite ridiculous really that Rafa is having to come out several times a week to restate his stance. It’s as if Ashley has STILL not taken the hint, suggesting talks may have stalled.
Rafa then goes on, emphasising the need for us to do the ‘right things’ and show we are ready to compete if we want to be in the ‘top eight or higher’ – but is that an ambition Ashley is ready to match?
“What I will say is this, and I have said it many times before: this is a massive club. If we want to compete in the Premier League, and at a good level, then what we have to do are the ‘right things’ – and that’s it.
“Then we cannot be thinking that our position is: ‘Oh, we are safe, great.’ No. We have 52,000 fans at St James’ Park, between 3,000 and 9,000 fans at away games in the Championship.
“That shows that this club has to be competing to be in the top eight or higher.”
Benitez couldn’t have clarified his ambitions more if he tried and it’s almost embarrassing how many times he’s now had to repeat himself.
Rafa clearly wants to stay, but he’s not going to hang around forever if he feels Ashley and co. just aren’t willing to show any sort of ambition.