It’s devastating stuff to hear – especially from one of the North-East’s most trusted writers – but something we’ve all been fearing given the constant lack of assurances he’s received from Mike Ashley.
Caulkin also revealed what Rafa was offered during talks with Ashley and Charnley on May 17th. He claims Rafa was offered a one-year deal that included no ‘structural improvements’, with them failing to offer assurances regarding transfer budget and refusing to let Rafa spend it as he sees fit – suggesting his wish to sign players over the age of 26 were shot down.
On the takeover front, his piece reveals that there”s “at least two other bidders” looking to buy the club alongside the Bin Zayed Group. This suggests there’s serious takeover interest, however he insists the no group have reached the ‘exclusivity’ stage – meaning a deal is far from imminent. Caulkin also states that all takeover talks are now “being handled” by Ashley’s right-hand man Justin Barnes – another revelation which hardly fills you with confidence.
Here’s a snippet from his concerning new piece for the Times, with him believing Benitez is all but gone:
“At Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United, trust has left the building and Rafa Benítez is set to follow.
“The story of Newcastle United’s summer is one of stasis and, as things stand, there will not be a happy ending, not as far as Rafa Benítez is concerned.
“With nine days to go until the manager’s contract ends at St James’ Park, talks about an extension have stalled and China is beckoning, offering money (lots of it), and a different sort of challenge. Benítez has one hand on the exit and trust has already left the building. Nine days more, but it feels too late.
“It is the end game now and although this could still be the summer when Ashley finally leaves, there may be a hefty price to pay.
“Benítez is going, going and almost gone.
To say his piece and his latest comments on Twitter paint a bleak picture is an understatement, unfortunately.
Let’s hope there’s real progress on the takeover front in the coming week or that Mike Ashley blinks first and decides to compromise and give Benitez what he wants at the 11th hour.
Should both fail to happen, it’s not looking good at all.