Rafa Benitez admits that he’s now told Lee Charnley and Justin Barnes (Mike Ashley’s lawyer) that his contract is not the issue at Newcastle United – insisting that he’d happily commit to the club for ‘years’ if they started to ‘do things right’ from now on.
With our transfer progress appearing to be at somewhat of a standstill (despite there being just a few weeks left to do business), Benitez is clearly refusing to focus on his future – and instead on the here and now.
After all, it’s what happens between now and August 9th that will make or break his potential stay at St James’ Park.
He needs action and proof of backing, not words and empty promises – two things that will not longer wash with him after almost four consecutive underwhelming transfer windows.
Here’s what he’s had to say when asked about his contract situation – admitting that this is not the issue surrounding Newcastle at the moment, but instead our inability to do the right things at the right time:
“I would say my contract is not an issue. I am doing my best and a lot of managers, they finish a contract and still the clubs are investing and trying to improve the squad.
“I told Mike and Lee Charnley (MD) and Justin (Barnes, Ashley’s lawyer). They know that if we do the right things then I am keen to stay here for five years or whatever.
“There is a way to do things and we have to be sure that we do that.
“Do things in the way that for me, as a football professional who has been years there, is the right way.
Rafa then discussed what he needs the club to start doing in order for him to sign an extension, suggesting once again that we must ‘do the ‘right things’ NOW, with him him having ‘plenty of time’ to talk about a contract further down the line.
“If you want to sign an extension and a lot of years, the main thing and the first one has to be the academy for example.
“Then all these things, you have everything in place – I am really pleased with the fans, the city, the atmosphere at the games, the staff are professionals, everyone.
“We have all the potential to grow and to be a top side, a proper top side. I don’t think my contract should be an issue.”
“The last conversation was, ‘Oh, we can talk’. But I think it is more important to be sure that we do the right things now and then after we have plenty of time to talk about that.”
It’s infuriating. The club seems obsessed about this new contract, yet their actions to tempt him into signing one are non existent.
For now, let’s just hope we at least start doing the ‘right things’ between now and next month’s looming deadline.
We haven’t got long and I’m not expecting much, but with player sales picking up and several big gaps still left to fill in the squad, surely we’ll see a few signings? For Benitez’s sake, I seriously hope so.