According to north-east reporter David Coverdale, ‘recruitment strategy‘ and the club’s ‘wage structure‘ were two ‘sticking points’ during contract talks between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez last week.
This comes from his piece suggesting Benitez is keen to be given more flexibility to recruit players over the age of 26, claiming he wants to sign Salomon Rondon (29) and a 31-year-old Juan Mata on a free this summer.
The report states that Benitez and Ashley ‘remain in negotiations’, but claims the Spaniard wants the club to be ‘more open-minded’ about signing more senior players – also asking for us to start paying ‘more competitive salaries’.
Here’s a snippet from David Coverdale’s piece from the Sun:
‘Benitez remains in negotiations over a new contract at Newcastle having met owner Mike Ashley last Thursday.
‘One sticking point in talks has been their recruitment strategy and wage structure.
‘Benitez has asked the club to be more open-minded about signing players older than 26 and to start paying more competitive salaries.‘
No doubt Ashley won’t like either of these requests, with two of his big policies being to sign young players with potential (re-sale value) and keep the wage bill down.
It’s not surprise to hear both requests of Rafa’s have proved to be sticking points, but it’s about time they now put complete faith in a man who knows exactly what he’s doing.
Benitez will understand the need to manage finances – this is something he’s been used to doing during several of his top jobs in football – however we will never be able to compete with the top 6 or any of the chasing pack if we don’t show more ambition in the transfer market.