According to the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope, Mike Ashley will now ‘prioritise’ securing Rafa Benitez’s future at the club after making late moves to make sure £21m man Miguel Almiron arrived at the club.
Hope claims Rafa is stalling on a five-year contract proposal, but claims Ashley is now ‘exploring’ the idea of a “three-year offer with the promise of trying to build the club.”
Ashley won’t get off this lightly, with us still leaving things incredibly late and failing to sign a much needed striker, winger or midfielder, however the Almiron deal has given us a HUGE boost.
He was Rafa’s top target and the player we’d put so much groundwork in to sign ahead of the January window, so this bring a smile to the face of Rafa Benitez – for now at least.
Here’s a snippet from Craig Hope’s piece from the Mail:
‘Mike Ashley will now prioritise securing Rafa Benitez’s future at Newcastle United after backing the manager by finally breaking the club’s 14-year transfer record.
‘Miguel Almiron arrived from Atlanta United on Thursday in a deal worth up to £21million with Benitez having told Ashley he was his No 1 target when the owner took the squad for dinner in October.
‘Benitez’s contract expires in the summer and he has so far stalled on the offer of a five-year deal and, more recently, a 12-month extension.
‘However, Sportsmail has been told that one option now being explored is a three-year offer with the promise of trying to build the club.
‘Crucially, Benitez wants guarantees over investment in the playing squad and improvements made to the training ground.
‘Ashley is planning for the future on the assumption he will remain as owner after takeover talks collapsed. It is said any party who now emerges with interest must provide proof of their financial means immediately. The club has not been taken off the market.
‘However, Ashley sees the sense in keeping Benitez and is also mindful of how damaging relegation would be, especially as the manager would leave and the value of the club would decrease dramatically. That is why the Almiron deal was sanctioned.
The Mail’s piece then claimed that Ashley ‘used his contacts’ in America to make sure the deal ‘did not fall through’ – claiming
‘It is understood Ashley himself intervened and used contacts in America to make sure it did not fall through.
‘An asking price of £25m coupled with a £4m agent’s commission were threatening to scupper the transfer. The fee was negotiated to around £16m plus £5m in add-ons, while the agent’s cut was also significantly reduced. Almiron and his family were said to be concerned that the agent’s demands could jeopardise his dream move.
‘Sources say it is hoped a compromise can now be met between Ashley and Benitez and that he will agree to stay on as boss beyond this season.’
It all sounds promising, with Ashley’s late ‘heroics’ appearing to play a big part in getting the Almiron deal done late in the day, however this MUST only be the start of the spending if Rafa’s going to stay beyond this season.
Realistically, signings of £20m plus are needed each and every window if we’re to keep up with the likes of Everton, West Ham, Wolves, Watford and Bournemouth – and that would just be the start, with Rafa also wanting training ground improvements and money spent on the Academy.
It’s positive to hear, but I still feel like this will be a one off from Ashley to keep Rafa sweet, not a sign that he’s finally ready to spend at St James’ Park.