According to Sky Sports‘ Keith Downie, Rafa Benitez’s contract talks are now at a ‘standstill’ – with the Spaniard waiting to see if Mike Ashley delivers between now and the end of the transfer window before he makes any decision over a new deal.
As we know, Rafa’s now in the final year of his contract at St James’ Park and he and his team are believed to have been in talks with the club’s hierarchy for several months now over a potential extension.
Benitez clearly wants to be here and he’s hungry for success – he wouldn’t have stuck around this long if he didn’t REALLY want to make this work – however he’s clearly not going to commit to a new deal unless Ashley changes his ways.
This summer was always going to be a big test and, unfortunately, Ashley and NUFC are failing it miserably – with Benitez admitting today that he’s already missed out on top targets, being forced to ‘wheel and deal’ and even sell before he can buy.
Here’s what Sky’s Keith Downie has had to say on his future today after speaking to the Spaniard at our pre-season camp in Ireland
“Rafa Benitez’s contract talks at a standstill.
“He suggested – as he has for months – that he’ll wait to see if his squad has enough to compete this season before signing a new deal.
“So can’t see this being resolved quickly…”
Rafa Benitez’s contract talks at a standstill. He suggested – as he has for months – that he’ll wait to see if his squad has enough to compete this season before signing a new deal. So can’t see this being resolved quickly…
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) July 17, 2018
It’s embarrassing and unbelievably frustrating. We have the best manager we’ve had since Sir Bobby Robson, we’ve just finished 10th in the Premier League on our first year back, we have a squad full of hunger and passion and a packed out St James’ Park waiting for the good times to return.
This summer was a huge chance for us to make things right and back Rafa, but instead it’s looking more and more like this is Rafa’s last year at the club – unless Ashley somehow comes to his senses or finally decides to sell up between now and next summer.
Keith Downie reckons he ‘can’t see this being resolved quickly’. I see what he’s getting at, but I fear it may be sorted sooner than we expect – just not the way we want it to be.