If this is Ashley’s big response to the stand off that appears to have take place between him and Rafa then his disrespect towards both Benitez and the club clearly knows no bounds – also suggesting he’s prepared to take yet another huge risk ahead of what could be one of the most vital transfer windows for the club.
Why should Rafa trust him? Why should Rafa commit to this regime? Ashley can’t continue to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. The same thing was suggested over the summer regarding Rafa’s contract and transfer funds that would allegedly follow, but these petty demands only prove that he’ll only ever do what’s best for Mike Ashley, not Newcastle United.
Here’s a snippet from The Times’ latest piece, suggesting Ashley will only ‘unlock’ the club’s finances IF he signs a new deal:
The Sunday Times has learnt that there has been fresh discussion about overcoming the current impasse, and a front runner is the possibility of a 12-month extension on the £6m-a-year deal the former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager signed in May 2016.
Ashley, who is keen to sell the club and has called on would-be purchasers, including Kenyon, to meet his asking price of between £280-£300m this month, remains unlikely to strengthen heavily during January without agreement.
If Benitez agrees to the new deal then the tight hold on club’s finances is likely to be unlocked, although there remains a fundamental disagreement over how that money should be spent; Ashley wants young players whose value will rise and Benitez wants experience.
However, without the confirmation of Benitez staying beyond the end of the season, Newcastle are unlikely to sanction the spending spree their supporters have been calling on for three transfer windows.
The fact Ashley thinks investment is optional this month is worrying. He may want to sell the club (although I’ll believe that when I see it!), but his asset won’t be worth anything like the £300m he’s demanding if we continue to go down hill and find ourselves in the Championship once again in six months time.
It was suggested yesterday that Ashley is ‘reactive’ not ‘proactive’, but it seems to me that he’s ‘inactive’ – only ever emerging on the scene when there’s something to benefit him; not Benitez or the club.