After being questioned about claims he’ll quit if the club don’t deliver ‘at least’ TWO signings before the transfer window shuts, Rafa Benitez has insisted that he’ll be ‘happy’ to enter future talks IF we “do things right”.
This comes following The Telegraph’s worrying story earlier this week, stating Rafa would refuse and contract offer and walk away from the club in the summer if he wasn’t able to sign TWO unnamed targets – with Luke Edwards’ piece also stating he was at ‘breaking point’.
Here’s what Rafa said during his press conference today when asked if it’s true that he’ll definitely walk in the summer if the club don’t back him over the next week:
“Everything has an influence but I’m really pleased with the potential of the city & club.
“If we’re sure we do the right things I’m quite happy to talk.”
Benitez has been consistent during his time here – he wants to compete in the top half of the table, improve the academy and training ground, whilst spending money the club generates on players to improve the squad. We have just been confirmed in the Deloitte top 20 football ‘rich list’ – so clearly, the manager is not getting the tools he needs for Newcastle to match his ambition.
Rafa then commented on his short ‘meeting’ with Mike Ashley after last weekend’s 3-0 win over Cardiff:
“It doesn’t change anything about where we are at the moment. We keep working
“He was happy that the team had won. I think he was quite happy, congratulating me and the team.
“We were talking about business.”
It’s the first face to face meeting the pair have had in months so you would assume Ashley has some sort of agenda – even he must know the club has to keep Rafa beyond the summer. We do seem to have some fresh impetus in the transfer market after the meeting, with Lukaku potentially arriving and Almiron still a possibility, but we’re leaving it late..again.
What is clear though by the emphasis on loan moves is that the ridiculous impasse Ashley has with Rafa still exists – Rafa won’t sign a new deal unless investment is provided and Ashley won’t spend unless the manager signs up.
To me, it’s another excuse for Ashley to hide behind and use to not spend any money at Newcastle, as he chases ‘saving the high street.’ Loan players and impromptu meetings feel like the pair are papering over the cracks until a summer parting of ways – but let’s hope I’m wrong.
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About Simon Riddlesden
Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.