With only four days to go until the end of the season, the stand-off continues between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.
The manager confirmed at his press conference on Tuesday that there was still no progress on any agreement for him to extend his contract, despite Premier League safety being confirmed a month ago.
Indeed, The Telegraph reported that their information is that Mike Ashley is still refusing to even consider giving Rafa anything close to the full profit that will be generated this season, to spend in the transfer market.
Asked about planning for potential transfer targets this summer, the Newcastle manager will have had the club’s owner sweating as he spells out the reality.
Newcastle are obviously in dire need of a new striker, at least a couple in reality.
Rafa Benitez stating that if you want a striker who looks capable of getting double figures in the Premier League, then Newcastle will have to break their transfer record.
As we all know, it is quite unbelievable that despite the rampant transfer inflation of recent seasons, Newcastle’s transfer record still stands at the £16m paid for Michael Owen 13 years ago.
When you have clubs such as Bournemouth paying £20m for a defender (Nathan Ake) then surely it tells you everything.
Curiously, Mike Ashley has had little problem with accepting the realities of a rising transfer market when it comes to selling players…
It is now seven and a half years since he sold Andy Carroll for £35m, then since then we have seen the likes of Cabaye (£18m), Wijnaldum (£25m) and Sissoko (£30m) also leave St James Park.
Last summer, many Newcastle fans expected the club to really struggle if NUFC’s transfer record wasn’t broken at least once or twice. Sure enough a relegation struggle followed, with the reality being that a £5m Joselu brings you four Premier League goals.
Rafa Benitez says that he has ‘always been concerned about taking care of the numbers’ and working ‘with a business plan’, then he can work within that.
With Mike Ashley seemingly enjoying toying with the hopes of fans, you almost feel like not breaking the club’s transfer record is something that is a badge of ‘honour’ for the owner, enjoying the mental torture of the supporters as they hope for better quality signings arriving.
As Rafa says, spending money isn’t the be all and end all of helping to progress the club but for me, one thing is for sure. I can’t see there been any chance of Rafa Benitez extending his contract at Newcastle, if there is not to be at least one signing this summer who breaks that £16m barrier.
“If you want to bring in a striker with a guarantee of more than 10 or 15 goals a season…you have to pay money for him.
“More than £16m? In this market, yes.
“I like to coach and improve players, so sometimes that means owners of clubs do not have to spend too much.
“I have always been concerned about taking care of the numbers.
“In England, I have learned to work with a business plan.
“You have to have a realistic business plan, then if you know that, you have to work on that.
“Does that mean you have to break the [club’s transfer] record?
“If it is necessary, you can do it.
“If it isn’t necessary, you still have to be sure you have the funds to compete.”