After claims that a Chinese Super League side will offer him £10m a year next summer, Rafa Benitez has hinted that he will sign a new contract at Newcastle – but only if Mike Ashley can prove that the club WILL progress over the coming years; starting in January.
Ever since joining Newcastle, there has been constant speculation on how long Benitez can cope with the lack of ambition under Mike Ashley. Pretty much every transfer window of his two and half year tenure, the former Real Madrid boss has not been given the tools to get Newcastle to compete; instead forced to scour the bargain basement for ‘hidden gems’. With the upcoming winter window the last before his contract expires, here’s what he had to say when asked about whether he was considering any offers from other clubs:
“No. At the moment I want to make sure that we concentrate on games, one game at a time.
“Then we can see what we can do during the January transfer window.”
“My position is very clear. If you can see the club progressing it would be easier, because I am happy here,”
“We have to go to January and be sure we do the right things, and consider the future afterwards,” Benitez continued.
“I say always it is a massive club with massive potential. But then we have to do things to make sure we maximise this potential.
“I don’t want to talk every Press conference about my future. Obviously I get asked about January and the transfer window [a lot], and I understand why.”
“What I think is that Mike and Lee, when I talk with them, they realise we are close and, if we do the right things, we will be better. Can we do it? We will try,”
Rafa has always been very reasonable on this, it’s not a question of his won salary – he wants investment in the club to match his own ambitions. He is a serial winner and doesn’t want to stay at a club where the goal is to simply stay up and turn over a profit. Even Ashley will know Newcastle fans will reach breaking point if Benitez moves on and must end this standoff – even to protect his own interests.
Rafa is pushing for the same things the fans want and we have to be grateful while he is here, we have a proven manager who’s focus is on football matters and nothing else. Let’s just hope by the time Ashley eventually sells, that Rafa is still here.