After a winless start and a worrying opening set of results, it looked absolutely essential that Mike Ashley would have to spend money in the January transfer window – but after our run of 10 points from a possible 12, he will almost certainly be thinking very differently.
We all know Ashley is only interested in surviving on the bare minimum and, in contrast, the fans and Rafa himself have ambition for the club to go places. These two combined are an awful mix and without doubt the main reason Ashley is so disliked and Rafa is so loved by supporters.
It does seem like for us as fans we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we keep picking up points it’s obviously a good thing, but the more points we pick up, the less need there will be for Ashley to put his hand in his pocket.
In turn, if we keep losing games this MIGHT make Ashley panic and spend money, but we run the risk of another relegation – and this is hardly an approach that will tempt Benitez into believing the club will prosper in the long term.
Whatever happens on the pitch, January is a major test of Ashley’s intentions and is very likely to be his final chance to convince Rafa to sign a new deal.
If we are still in a relegation scrap come the end of January and we haven’t strengthened the squad, the effects could be catastrophic.
This is a good problem to have (depending on the way you look at it) and whilst we have been on a good run lately, it’s worth remembering we are ONLY 4 points above the drop zone – however it’s Ashley who may need to remember this as we head towards the new year.
Do you think Ashley will spend in January and finally convince Rafa that he CAN sign a new contract?