Rafa Benitez has taken the gloves off.
After both the January and summer transfer windows we saw the Newcastle manager’s fury, after promises weren’t kept.
However, both times, after going public with his disappointment, he then immediately got on with the job in hand. Knowing that no new players could come in, he got on with trying to improve the ones he had.
This time, Rafa Benitez isn’t waiting to see what happens in January.
I think it is clear what he expects to happen and wants to make sure his position is made clear in advance.
The United boss telling the media, fans, anybody who will listen, that Mike Ashley can’t make a fool of him a third time.
That this squad isn’t good enough, that only one or two injuries means ‘we have problems winning’.
Seven weeks since the last win (Palace) and only one win in the last 12 weeks since Stoke.
Rafa’s challenge is clear: ‘I don’t know if someone will write the cheques…’
What is less clear is exactly what Rafa Benitez will do if Mike Ashley once again doesn’t ‘write the cheques’.
All the talk is of how any takeover will not happen now until February at the earliest.
When the January transfer window opens, Newcastle have 18 games remaining, when it closes at midnight on 31 January there will be only 13 matches left.
Will Mike Ashley listen to Rafa Benitez this time?
“At any football club in the world, the value depends on the first team.
“What you are doing on the pitch.
“You can put everything around that and this is fine but if you are in the Premier League and doing well it is easier.
“If you are in the Premier League and things aren’t going well, it’s more difficult, and if you’re in the Championship…it has less value. That is so simple.
“For any club in the world, it depends on the performance of the first team, then you have to be sure that the first team is doing well.
“It is very simple. You have to be sure that your team is strong enough to stay in the Premier League.
“I think it is obvious that we have some positions that we have to reinforce.
“I want someone to write the cheques. I’ll be happy with that.
“I hope there is money left from the summer because we did not spend it all.
“I don’t know if someone will write the cheques…
“I’m confident we can stay up, but we need help in some positions – as soon as we have injuries we have problems winning.
“I will have a meeting and I will ask, we will talk about what we have, what we need.
“I think he (Mike Ashley) is a businessman.
“A businessman will have a clear idea about what he needs to do with his business to improve his business, then it will be much better.”