The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas held a Q&A this week to address some of the key issues affecting Newcastle at the moment and of course, as we are all so desperate for it, the topic of a potential investment in January.
Douglas provided an interesting (and slightly frustrating) update, suggesting that money may become available to Rafa if A) There’s a fear of relegation so investment is needed or B) Benitez shows a willingness to sign the new contract in front of him.
Here’s the quote from The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas when asked “Will Rafa get money to spend in January?”:
“I think it’ll depend on where they are in the Premier League. “There’s clearly money there to spend – we know Ashley withheld funds because the contract wasn’t signed on the grounds that there’s too much uncertainty about his future to allow Benitez to spend – but Benitez wasn’t allowed to do it in the summer.
“I wouldn’t expect massive funds to suddenly be freed to him unless it looks like he’ll sign the contract in front of him. But if they’re in the bottom three, there’ll be more to spend because Ashley is frightened of what might happen if the club go down. “In short: I think they’ll be active in January, but it’ll be more “boxing smart” in the window.”
The fact that Ashley won’t invest unless Rafa commits still remains absurd and makes no business sense. Another manager of lesser ability would need finance to improve the side, as Rafa has the ability to coach and develop players and make the most out of what he has, a 10th place finish being a prime example.
One thing is for sure, the situation between manager and owner will come to a head soon – it has to. Rafa is likely to walk in the summer if he isn’t backed in January or the club is sold to new owners and who can blame him? January is one last chance for Ashley to back Benitez but let’s face it, we won’t be holding our breath.