Ahead of an upcoming meeting which could decide Rafa Benitez’s future, The Chronicle claim that Mike Ashley is ‘reluctant’ to sanction the Spaniard’s demands surrounding transfer budget and improvements to the U-23’s, Academy and training ground.
Given Rafa will need these requirements to be met if he’s to have any chance of signing a new deal, this is a real concern – with it looking like he’s set to work with another ‘limited’ transfer budget in January.
Not only does the story state that Mike Ashley made no effort to meet with Benitez after showing up at Selhurst Park last weekend, it states that it ‘remains unclear’ whether Ashley will be present at the ‘recruitment summit’ set to take place between Benitez, Charnley and the club’s head scouts in the coming days.
Here’s a snippet from Lee Ryder’s piece today:
‘A recruitment summit meeting will take place following the home game with Leicester City but it remains unclear whether Ashley will be involved.
‘It is believed that Benitez’s concerns about a new deal are not salary-based and his requests were more based around improving the training ground, Academy and Under-23 set-up.
‘However, it is believed that Newcastle are reluctant to sanction those requests and are concerned that investing too heavily in the youth team is risky as there are no guaranteed results of unearthing homegrown talent.
‘Newcastle will offer Benitez limited funds for transfers in January again but the club do not feel they are in a position to sanction training ground improvements at this stage.
‘In recent weeks the training ground staff have installed a new NUFC plaque at the front of the premises while contractors cleaned the walled areas next at the Gallowgate End next to the Sir Bobby Robson statue earlier this week.’
The last line seems like a token gesture (just like many fans have received with pens and badges sent out to season ticket holders this week), however it seems like Ashley will refuse to spend his money to solve the key issues once again.
Not only that, he seems to be making no effort to actually meet with Benitez to get the bottom of this himself.
This just emphasises the fact he has no interest in bettering Newcastle United and instead appears intent on letting us crash and burn.
If things don’t seriously change, we’ll be stuck with Ashley and be without Benitez this time next year – and goodness knows what league we’ll be in if things don’t take a turn for the better.