Rafa Benitez reveals what constraints Ashley has put on signing players and bonus £30m to spend
Newcastle fans have waited all summer for Rafa Benitez to give them an insight into what is actually happening behind the scenes with transfers but we are certainly getting our money’s worth now.
On Monday the United boss told the media that he was confident everything was going to be ok in this transfer market IF Mike Ashley keeps to the promises he made the Spaniard.
Now The Mail have followed up with some more very illuminating comments from Rafa Benitez and it’s great to hear the openness and honesty, which is a world away from what we had to put up with from the likes of McClaren and Pardew as they desperately tried to just please Mike Ashley, no matter how dire the circumstances at the club.
Rafa says that when agreeing to stay on in the summer, he made very clear to Mike Ashley that he would only stay if things were right at Newcastle, that he could go to many other clubs, including China where he could make an absolute fortune.
Whilst he made clear how unhappy he was when signings he wanted didn’t happen in January, Rafa says that the positive from that is that it means he has an extra £30m for his budget this summer to play with (the club confirmed when releasing the 2015/16 accounts in April, that Rafa had made a £40m transfer profit in summer 2016).
Explaining exactly where he stands in relation to freedom on who is signed at Newcastle, Benitez says that he asked the club’s owner a very blunt question in May ‘I asked if I can spend all the money on one player or if I must spend it on many players’.
The reply that Mike Ashley gave was just as blunt, Rafa saying ‘Mike said the budget is mine and I can do what I want with the numbers he has given me. It is the same with wages’.
Whilst the club has compromised and got the price agreed on Jacob Murphy, Rafa Benitez does add the rider that Mike Ashley must ‘keep his word’ for everything to turn out right in this transfer window.
Great to hear the manager saying he has this freedom in the transfer market but it still appears clear that deals didn’t happen earlier in this window due to not meeting what other clubs and players wanted.
However, with Rafa Benitez giving such a positive message now, it will reassure fans to a large extent that there will be the right signings made in the coming days and weeks.
If they don’t then happen, there will be only one person to blame and it won’t be Rafa Benitez.
Murphy is a great positive signing with loads of potential but I think we are all still waiting for the summer signing that confirms Newcastle are really competing at the right level in this market.
Hearing what Rafa has to say makes me feel far more confident that this could happen very soon.
Rafa Benitez talking to The Mail:
“I could go away and make some money. If you go to China you can make a lot of money.
‘The priority for me was to stay. I decided to stay because of the fans, the club, the possibilities for the future and to stay in England close to my family.
‘Then the meeting was crucial to convince me to stay. Mike told me “We have this money, it is available, it’s OK”, so, fine, we were happy with that.’
“In January we didn’t sign players but we had £30m ready for the future, so now we are in a situation where we are going slowly but I still have confidence that everything will be fine after my meeting with Mike.
“He said that he would give us every last penny so hopefully he will do it and I’m confident that he will.
“I still have confidence that he will keep his word. We have the resources to do what we wanted and now we have to do it.
“I asked if I can spend all the money on one player or if I must spend it on many players.
“Mike said the budget is mine and I can do what I want with the numbers he has given me. It is the same with wages.
“We still have time to buy players until the end of next month and I am confident we will.”
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