The Spaniard confirms that he has held ‘face to face’ talks with Ashley already this summer, however it seems as though he will only sign a new contract once he sees how things pan out this summer – suggesting the NUFC owner must deliver on his promises before Rafa even considers putting pen to paper.
Here’s what he’s had to say when asked about his future, a potential new contract and his meeting with Mike Ashley:
“I was talking with him in the summer, face to face,”
“We were talking about the future, the possibilities, and that’s it.”
“It was fine, but still we are where we are.”
“I said that we have to see how things are going on and then we can sit down later on and discuss about that (his contract),”
“I would like to stay here five years, 10 years, if it’s possible, because I can see the potential, the fans, the city – everybody pushing in the same direction.
“But we have to do things like I imagine has to be done in a football club.”
Rafa was then asked about potential incomings and the summer so far, with us yet to sign a striker despite there being less than a month of the window left to run:
“We can’t talk about players at the moment. We are just working and trying to get closer to some players.
“It depends on so many things and we can’t say too much.”
“It is difficult because the prices have gone very high for everyone. Some people say: ‘Oh the deadline is the problem’. It’s not.
“If you are ready and you do what you have to do there is plenty of time. It’s just to be sure when you go for a player you make sure you sign him.
“You don’t want to waste too much time so you know more or less then you go (for it) and that’s it.”
Some very interesting stuff from Rafa here – a manager who’s clearly desperate to stay and succeed at St James’ Park, but one that will not waste his time if he feels Ashley is never likely to match what he knows we’re capable of achieving as a club.
Let’s hope that, for now, Ashley can at least pull his finger out and keep Rafa happy this summer and for the upcoming season – although you get the feeling it will take new owners and a total new level of ambition to keep him here for the ‘five to 10 years’ he has us dreaming about.