Tuesday morning has seen an ‘exclusive’, claiming that Mike Ashley is preparing to open talks with Rafa Benitez on a new extended contract.
The story comes from The Times and they state ‘Ashley has also made several overtures to Benitez in the past few weeks’.
However, the ‘exclusive’ has been instantly dismissed by many as a PR stunt, with Luke Edwards just one of those non-believers. He covers north east football for The Telegraph and says ‘The new contract story for Rafa Benitez was dismissed as a public relations move by his (Rafa’s) camp last week’.
Edwards going on to say ‘There has been no offer of a new deal yet’.
Others have pointed out that the Times story hasn’t come from the respected George Caulkin, their man in the north east. George is usually on the ball with any NUFC news but the newspaper’s exclusive has come from Deputy Football Correspondent, Matt Hughes, down in London. Some fans seeing this as the work of Mike Ashley PR goon Keith Bishop (pictured above with his boss) feeding the story to the London based journalist.
This latest tale follows on quickly from another Times exclusive, also by Matt Hughes…, claiming that Mike Ashley was keen to sell the club and prepared to drop the asking price.
The new contract story doesn’t exactly stand up as far as I can see, the last thing Rafa Benitez will be worried about is length of contract and possible pay rise.
He isn’t an Alan Pardew or John Carver who would happily be part of a PR farce claiming mythical eight year contracts, in return for a few extra quid.
Rafa is already one of the best paid in the Premier League and could walk into any number of other jobs if leaving Newcastle.
Instead of meaningless PR stunts, Mike Ashley should be keeping his promises to the manager when it comes to backing in the transfer market, rather than zero spend in January 2017 and only an £11.5m net spend this summer, whilst the likes of Brighton and Huddersfield (who have both beaten Newcastle…) backed their managers with respective net spends of £48m and £43m in this last transfer window.
The Times ‘Exclusive’:
‘Newcastle United are preparing to open talks with Rafa Benítez about a new contract in the hope of improving the manager’s relationship with owner Mike Ashley.
The Spaniard’s contract expires at the end of next season, but after a good start under Benítez on Newcastle’s return to the Premier League this season, the club are planning to initiate negotiations over a longer-term deal.
Ashley has also made several overtures to Benítez in the past few weeks.
Benítez’s response will be governed by what he hears from Ashley regarding his vision for the club during the negotiations, after what proved a difficult summer transfer window, in which the manager was frustrated by a lack of signings and the collapse of several proposed deals.
The 57-year-old even considered resigning at various points because of a lack of backing.’
Luke Edwards of The Telegraph:
“The new contract story for Rafa Benitez was dismissed as public relations move by his camp last week, so interesting it’s been leaked.
“There has been no offer of a new deal yet, no talks have taken place, not entirely sure he wants to sign it even if there were.
“However, there is some desire from the Newcastle United hierarchy to learn if Rafa would be interested in an extension, which will come in due course.”