Former Newcastle United striker Mick Quinn says that he ‘knows for a fact’ that Rafa Benitez is keen to stay at the club ‘long-term’ – however he believes Mike Ashley must start showing ambition from January onwards if he has any chance of keeping him.
This is perhaps what makes his current situation at the club so frustrating. We know he’s desperate to stay and make a real success of his time at St James’ Park, but the powers that be don’t seem interested in matching his ambitions for the club.
Only if the owner decides to spend, and spend well, in January.
Look, I know for a fact that Rafa wants to be at Newcastle long term. He didn’t agree to come to the club back in March 2016 just to stay for three years or so – he wanted a long-term project.
Rafa recognises that Newcastle can be among the very biggest clubs in England, and he wants to be back in Europe and competing for cup competitions.
He sees Newcastle in exactly the same way Kevin Keegan, Sir John Hall and Sir Bobby Robson did before: that the potential is endless.
But Ashley simply hasn’t allowed him to build. Instead, Rafa has had to spend two seasons in a row merely battling against relegation – and he won’t want to do that for much longer.
The only way I can see Rafa staying is if Ashley allows him to spend in January, bring in genuine quality, and if the club makes a real bid to start pushing up the table and build.
If the club convince Rafa he will be given the resources to allow Newcastle to reach their potential, I think he’ll stay – but that’s a big, big if unfortunately.
In some respects this is what we already know, but it’s interesting to see that Quinn – a man who has some link to the club – is certain that Benitez is in it for the long haul.
It probably is as simple as he puts it. If Ashley spends in January and begins to show some ambition and respect for Rafa’s demands then I’d imagine Benitez would give him another chance – but failure to do so and the bridges will remained burned between the two.