By Neil Langer
The Sun are reporting that Rafa is now out of the £6m buyout clause in his contract, as he is now in the final 12 months of his current deal.
More alarmingly it says he had sacked his agent who negotiated this contract with Newcastle, apparently because of the clauses that he allowed to be included (he has to pay the club £6m if he walks and he had a release clause of £6m – something West Ham were prepared to activate earlier this summer).
Benitez said after the draw with Hull on Tuesday night that the squad was not good enough – a telling admission. Rafa’s maintaining his dignity, ensuring he is not seen to overtly criticise the owner, but sending clear and well timed reminders.
Ashley wants him to sign his contract extension (who wouldn’t?), but it is obvious that it’s now about ambition and funding – and Rafa does not trust him. There seems little doubt that if Ashley demonstrated ambition, Rafa would commit.
Ashley is undoubtedly a tough business man, but he is backing Rafa into the proverbial corner and there can only be one outcome.
Mr Ashley – imagine your club without Benitez. Self-destruct doesn’t come anywhere near – managerial appointments will once again come thick and fast with a club once again embroiled in turmoil staring at relegation, and ultimately what will all this do to the value of your club?..