Newcastle are now only 11 weeks away from kicking off on their return to the Championship and the situation surrounding Rafa Benitez appears to have lost momentum, at least in public anyway.
Most of the media barely even bothered with any ‘updates’ today, with seemingly an acceptance that we are going to continue into next week without anything being finalised.
The acceptance is Sky Sports and their man in the north east, Keith Downie, he used his Twitter account today to report:
“Newcastle remain confident of confirming Rafa Benitez as manager. Talks continuing over finer details of his contract/demands.”
However, only yesterday Downie said that whilst there was a willingness from both sides to want to get the deal done, Rafa Benitez was still waiting for three things in writing that Mike Ashley had allegedly promised when meeting Benitez after Sunday’s win over Tottenham.
The three ‘finer details’ that appear to be the most important ones that Rafa Benitez is waiting to see, are guarantees that his own people rather than Graham Carr will be in charge of scouting, full control and final say on which players go in and out of the club, plus actual transfer budgets set out in writing, with guaranteed sums that will be available in both the summer and winter transfer windows.
Sky Sports’ Keith Downie saying on Thursday:
“There is an acceptance, a willingness, as I understand, from both Rafa Benitez himself and Newcastle for him to carry on as manager.
“But he will only agree to do so once he has everything in writing.
“Once he has assurances that he has asked for, assurances I understand he was promised by Mike Ashley on Sunday, in writing.
“Such as full control over transfers – he won’t want a situation that we saw under Steve McClaren and Alan Pardew.
“In terms of budgets as well, he will want money to spend in the summer and January as well, certain amounts will have to be put in writing in that contract.
“Also changes to the scouting system, Benitez will want to have his own men looking at players to bring in and improve this side in the Championship.
“The only thing holding this up is getting this deal signed off, not only by the club’s lawyers but also the solicitors of Rafa Benitez himself.”
Yesterday saw BBC Sport also report that the biggest hurdle still to be overcome was Mike Ashley agreeing to the transfer budgets Rafa Benitez had indicated he wanted before agreeing to stay.
Maybe this pivotal contractual situation is like the swan serenely gliding across the water but below the surface paddling madly away.
However, the sooner Mike Ashley gets his finger out and allows Rafa Benitez to give us the nod, the quicker we can all put a line under the shambles that led us to this point and all get behind the manager and the players he chooses to place his faith in.
The thought of Rafa Benitez NOT staying on, is something that none of us really want to think about too much.