Mike Ashley has blocked Rafa Benitez buying any players unless he sells some of his current squad first, according to a new exclusive.
It is 18 days ago (22 December 2017) now when Rafa said (see below) that he wanted all signings in ideally by 15 January (six days time…), or 20 January at the very latest ‘to be sure that we have time to work with the new players’.
Instead, up to now all the messages via the media have indicated that no signings are imminent, whereas it was anticipated that just like in the summer, the Newcastle Manager would have targets identified for the very start of the transfer window. Which of course is what Rafa had in place in the summer, only for deals to be blocked by Mike Ashley.
Now in this latest exclusive carried by The Sun, they report that Rafa Benitez has been told by Ashley that he can’t buy anybody, unless he sells somebody first.
The newspaper says that they understand Rafa is more than prepared to sell players but wants to get his signing(s) in as early as possible regardless of that, wanting the club/ Mike Ashley to support him and then recoup money through sales.
The indication is that Rafa Benitez is wary of selling any players of any value because then he fears he will be let down by Mike Ashley.
No surprise really after Benitez was let down by the owner despite the ‘promises’ made before the summer window. The manager repeatedly saying in public that he hoped Ashley would keep those promises.
After being promised ‘every penny’ to support him in that summer market, instead the United boss was only allowed a net spend of around £11.5m, whilst both Huddersfield and Brighton had net spends of over £40m each. This being despite Rafa Benitez making a £40m transfer surplus for Newcastle United in the summer 2016 transfer window.
Yet another reason for Rafa Benitez to be wary of selling any player who may be of use to him, is that if Mike Ashley is sticking to his previous sales policy, then Rafa could only get a fraction of any sale price. The Newcastle owner having in the past been happy for other clubs to pay in instalments, so potentially Newcastle could sell say Jonjo Shelvey for £12m but if they were to take payment in four instalments, then the initial £3m might be all that Rafa was allocated towards any replacement/new signing.
As always we are in the dark as to what is going on, apart from when Rafa Benitez enlightens us, but the one thing we do know is that the manager said he was desperate to get new much needed players in as soon as possible and nine days in, there is still no new signings on the horizon.
The Sun exclusive also reports that just as in the summer, Mike Ashley doesn’t like the fact that Rafa Benitez has felt he has no option but to go public with his transfer window expectations.
You hope for the best but with Ashley’s past record you can’t help but have the feeling this is not going to end well.
Rafa Benitez – 22 December 2017:
“I have confidence that Mike Ashley will deliver what we need to stay in the Premier League before January 20, to be sure that we have time to work with the new players.
“I don’t know the budget that I have, so we don’t know how much we can spend…
“It will depend on the value of the players, the players who are available or not, and we may have to move players out to bring others in.
“It’s really important to do that.
“We haven’t received any offers for any of our players at this stage but we have to do things as quickly as possible.
“I have the belief and the confidence in Mike Ashley, that by January 15 or 20, we have to be there with everything done.”