Mike Ashley just can’t help himself.
According to widespread media reports that appeared simultaneously on Thursday night from the likes of the Telegraph, Independent, Mail and others, Rafa Benitez has been left in no-man’s land thanks to being undermined in this transfer window by the club’s owner.
The Manager not expected to walk out mid-season but after promises allegedly not being kept, there is said to be real danger that Rafa Benitez would exit St James Park as there’d be no point in staying if he doesn’t have the control on transfers he was assured he did have by Mike Ashley.
Rafa repeatedly said throughout January that he had a list of transfer targets he had given the club, only to then state on Wednesday night when talking to Sky Sports that he didn’t know why no players had been brought in and it hadn’t been his decision not to strengthen – his anger obvious when he was speaking.
Last night’s media claims:
Mike Ashley told Rafa Benitez at the end of last season he had £30m to spend, plus he understood that whatever he brought in by selling players would also be his to use.
After making a £30m profit on transfers once Sissoko left, the Manager believed he had that money at his disposal in the January transfer window.
On being told this wasn’t the case, then tried to make the best of the situation, with a deal set up to bring Andros Townsend back on a £2m loan deal until the end of the season, with £12m to be paid then on a permanent deal on condition Newcastle got promoted.
Only to find this deal blocked by the club (Mike Ashley).
‘Sources’ telling the newspapers that Ashley thinks Rafa Benitez has already had more than enough money to get promotion and can’t expect any more.
Claimed Mike Ashley’s lackeys in the club have been undermining Rafa by telling the owner that the Manager’s transfer decisions have been far from ideal and that with the money spent, Newcastle are actually under-performing.
Every other club in the promotion race strengthened their squads with two or more signings in January.
Pretty much every other Championship club also signed players with QPR bringing in half a dozen, it being ironic in the circumstances that all three substitutes Ian Holloway brought on were January signings that helped get the point, with one of them – Kazenga LuaLua putting in the dangerous cross that led to the final goal.
Despite the odd result such as Wednesday night’s draw, Newcastle United are still odds-on to get promotion and are at least four points (effectively five with their superior goal difference) and a game in hand ahead of those chasing them and Brighton for the automatic promotion spots.
If these claims of Mike Ashley undermining Rafa Benitez at this critical stage of the season are true, it is the equivalent of Dwight Gayle being through on goal and just about to stroke the ball past the keeper, only for Rafa to blow a whistle to try and put him off scoring.
Surely even Mike Ashley couldn’t be that stupid…