Mike Ashley is going to offer Rafa Benitez a transfer budget of ‘up to £80m’ to convince him to stay this summer, according to reports on Saturday night.
Less than 24 hours before the final game of the season, The Mirror claim that Mike Ashley would be encouraging his manager to break the club’s transfer record, set 13 years ago when around £16m was paid for Michael Owen.
The report makes reference to this week’s publication of the 2018 Sunday Times Rich List, which once again listed Mike Ashley as the north east’s richest person.
In that latest rich list, it is estimated that the NUFC owner has seen his fortune rise by £277m to £2.437bn.
The Mirror claiming that Mike Ashley is still insisting ‘he can’t match the foreign-owned clubs such as Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in the transfer market.’
All a bit strange as nobody, including Rafa Benitez or any Newcastle fan, is thinking that NUFC should be trying to match the spending of top six clubs, certainly at this point.
Nor indeed do you ever hear of anybody expecting Mike Ashley to be investing that paper increase in his wealth into Newcastle United.
Newcastle fans just wanting the club’s owner to treat his manager with respect and give him realistic backing, both in terms of autonomy and the level of budget available.
Earlier today, The Mail’s man in the north east, Craig Hope, reported that his information was that Rafa was expecting somewhere around £50m to spend [plus money from players sold] in order to strengthen his squad – but that more importantly, he wanted complete freedom in how he spent the money. With Mike Ashley having blocked previous incoming transfers despite the Spaniard supposed to have had complete control.
That Mail report also reporting that Rafa was needing assurances as well that the Academy and training ground would have the investment that is desperately needed, before he committed to a new extended contract.
This coming week or so must surely see some movement and if Mike Ashley doesn’t move towards what Rafa wants/needs, then we will all be wondering [and worrying] how this summer is going to play out.