According to the Chronicle, the club are now ready to sanction a five-year deal for Rafa Benitez – making him one of the top paid managers in the league – but Benitez will only sign if he gets assurances over ‘spending control’ and the development of the club’s Academy and training ground.
This feels like a familiar story now. The club want to keep Benitez, Benitez wants to stay, but Benitez will only commit once Ashley gives him the assurances he needs to see that the club will be showing ambition and moving forward over the coming years.
Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s piece, insisting that it’s not about money for Rafa:
‘Newcastle United chiefs are ready to sanction Rafa Benitez’s salary and a five-year contract with the club eager to retain the 58-year-old’s services beyond next season.
‘Benitez is understood to be relaxed about the situation and will only commit his future once other aspects – aside from his salary – are agreed upon.
‘The truth is it has never been about money for the ex-Liverpool and Napoli boss – even though the deal that remains on the table from last summer is understood be lucrative enough to make him one of top six bosses in the Premier League in terms of wages.
‘Benitez’s concerns aren’t about salary and boil down to assurances on the club’s Academy, training ground and spending control.
‘With Newcastle keen to continue discussions and Benitez receptive to the prospect of staying, there is hope behind the scenes that there can be a happy ending to a longstanding wrangle over a new deal.’
It’s promising to read that he is ‘relaxed’ about the situation and that there is ‘hope’ behind the scenes that a deal can be reached, however Ashley must be reluctant to agree to his demands given how long this has dragged on now.
I read recently that Ashley wants him to sign a new deal before January, but surely that would be absolutely nonsensical from Rafa’s perspective. Ashley needs to prove he’ll back Benitez before he’ll commit.
Once bitten twice as shy is a phrase that will certainly apply to Rafa right now. He won’t be falling for that after recent promises were broken by Ashley.
Fingers crossed a deal can be agreed – although it’ll take much more than offering Benitez big salary for five years.