During his latest piece on Rafa Benitez’s situation at St James’ Park, George Caulkin has admitted that Spaniard’s lack of ‘trust’ in Mike Ashley is the biggest reason why he is reluctant to sign a new deal this summer.
It’s another brilliant piece from George (the North-East’s trusted correspondent for the Times), offering a superb insight into Rafa’s current dilemma, explaining exactly why Benitez is questioning whether he can trust Mike Ashley for the
Here’s what he’s had to say during his piece for the Times, explaining how Benitez’s good work has often been undone by incompetence at board level – thus leading to a total lack of trust and fear that they’ll only make the same mistakes again:
“At the heart of the matter is trust. For three transfer windows in succession, Benítez believes months of work in identifying players and setting up deals was wasted. Last January, he wanted a couple of new additions to guarantee promotion and got nothing. Last summer, he wanted Newcastle to act quickly to bring in a goalkeeper and a striker. Four months ago, he wanted to clear up that mess and was restricted to loans.
“The record books show that Newcastle went up as champions and have now finished tenth, yet Benítez would argue that both accomplishments were jeopardised by the club’s lack of action. Why take that risk? And why make life more difficult for yourself, when some prudent investment would remove that stress and give you something to build upon? The table says one thing, but this has been a season of toil and it has taken a toll.
“In a PR statement released on Sunday night — the sportswear retailer is away on holiday — Ashley was quoted as saying, “I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to [Benítez].” Full disclosure was assailed by a drive-by shooting. Every penny is impossible to quantify if Benítez is not told what that budget is, nor if he cannot control when it is spent.
“To re-tell a story for the umpteenth time, when Benítez attempted to sign Willy Caballero on a free transfer from Manchester City last summer, the club demurred. Newcastle already had ‘too many’ goalkeepers. Benítez pushed and eventually Lee Charnley, the managing director, took it up with Ashley. No dice. Yet when they brought in Martin Dubravka in January, the manager’s logic immediately became obvious. Dubravka has changed the team.
“With safety secured, negotiations have begun in earnest, but what should be a straightforward situation has become the opposite.
“Benítez does not want a repeat of this season, but how can he be persuaded things will be different? It is impossible to put a guarantee of funds into a contract, let alone a guarantee that he will be listened to. How can he trust them again?”
Once bitten twice as shy comes to mind – and rightly so if you’re Rafa Benitez.
It feels so unlikely given his lack of care and complete stubbornness, but let’s hope Ashley sees sense and sorts this out.