According to The Chronicle, Rafa Benitez is set to hold a meeting at St James’ Park at the end of the month – with the Spaniard set to raise his concerns about our recruitment process, the Academy and the club’s U-23 set up.
All three have been identified as areas the club must improve should they wish to see Rafa sign a new deal, and he looks set to meet with Lee Charnley, Steve Nickson (head of recruitment) and Paul Baker (European scout) to get to the bottom of it all – with The Chronicle refusing to rule out Mike Ashley’s attendance.
Here’s a snippet from Lee Ryder’s piece today, admitting that these talks could be key when it comes to Rafa’s future at the club – with these issues needing to be ironed out if there’s any hope of him signing a new deal.
“Benitez was keen to make changes to the youth system and the second string last summer but the collapse of those negotiations with Charnley and Ashley mean things have came to a bit of a standstill.
“Newcastle fans will hope that the meeting could eventually result in Benitez’s committing himself to a new deal.
“The clarification of certain issues with the club’s scouting network and youth system could be key to that.”
Hopefully Mike Ashley will attend, although I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Benitez can get all the assurances he likes from Lee Charnley, but it always feel as though Mike Ashley dictates it all – even if he claims to have such a distant role at the club these days.
If Rafa can get the right answers then it’ll be a good start, but it feels like he will only be convinced to sign a new deal once the club puts any of these plans into action.
Talk is cheap.