Talks over a five-year deal were initially said to be on the table, but Ashley’s offer of a three-year deal which could include “lucrative bonuses and a promise of more signings in the summer” is now being mentioned as a potential compromise.
Here’s what the Mirror have had to say about the NUFC owner’s latest stance after allowing Benitez finally get his man last month:
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley feels boss Rafa Benitez should now sign a new three-year contract after he delivered the Spaniard’s top January transfer target.
The St James’ Park supremo expects the £21million signing of Miguel Almiron from MLS champions Atlanta United to be followed by Benitez committing his own future to the club.
Ashley wants a decision from his manager in the next six weeks, with Benitez only having six months left on his contract.
The Magpies’ big-cheese was locked in a stand-off with Benitez over Paraguay international playmaker Almiron — Ashley woudn’t sanction a deal until the manager signed a new deal, Benitez was refusing to consider extending his stay on Tyneside unless Newcastle delivered the players he wanted.
But a phone call last week with one of Ashley’s aides changed the landscape.
The club went out and smashed their long-standing record transfer – the £16m capture of striker Michael Owen in summer 2005 – and also rubber-stamped a loan move for Monaco full-back Antonio Barreca.
Originally there was talk of a five-year deal, but now Ashley is offering a compromise three-year contract complete with lucrative bonuses and a promise of more signings in the summer.
Don’t get me wrong, Almiron’s arrival was a real step in the right direction and huge boost as far as keeping Benitez happy is concerned, but Ashley can’t suddenly expect him to commit for 3 years just because he’s spent money that should’ve been available in the first place.
Cash from Mitrovic and Merino’s summer sales would’ve paid for two thirds of Almiron alone – not to forget the TV money he’s been pocketing for months now.
This is the club’s money we’re talking about, not Mike Ashley dipping into his pockets and spending huge sums of how OWN money.
Here’s hoping the two can reach a compromise. I don’t see a world where Rafa sticks around too much longer while Ashley’s here, but even a 1-year extension would given him another year in the hope that a takeover can finally go through.