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.

Rafa Benitez:

“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.”



  • Peaky

    Mike Ashley sweating….FFS get those flood warnings out….joking aside he won’t be sweating….he’ll just ignore the fact…again.

    • TheFatController

      I looked at the headline and did think ‘any day over 18 degrees will have him sweating …’

      • MadMag83

        A queue at Gregg’s has him sweating.

  • Paul Patterson

    Well he doesn’t know his budget yet, so we might have to wait a while ..

  • Tweed Mag

    It is all about ambition – does Ashley want to win cups or is his priority to continue to use the club as a big advert for SD? It will be a big surprise if he allows Rafa to spend anything like he needs to. His business plan is to spend as little as possible and gamble on premiership survival. Unfortunately it worked this year.

  • Mrkgw

    I reckon that the regime would sooner see us relegated than spend money like that. The days of decent signings were consigned to the history books the moment that John Hall sold out.

  • Wor Lass

    Rafa`s number 1 priority this time around has to be a decent centre forward. He must know that and even the fat bar steward must know it. The problem is how he pays for one. Mitro should bring something like that amount – especially if he has a half decent world cup – but talk of looking at Dawson has me sweating over the future of our captain (surely our most saleable asset). We`re in a bit of a Catch 22 situation at the moment. Everything, for me, hinges on whether or not Rafa stays while Rafa staying hinges on whether or not he gets a manageable budget. The budget hinges on how much the parasite wants to sell up. Business as usual at Ashley Towers.

  • kingfisher

    According to the BBC, Wenger’s received some job offers.I wonder if fatty’s been in touch? You can just imagine his sales pitch ….
    “Any Manager can win trophys with loads of money at their disposal Arsene.The test of a really good Manager is to do well for an owner who not only gives him the absolute minimun investment but also tells the Manager that he will get sufficient funds, then when the Manager comes up with a realistic business/transfer strategy based on the aforementioned promised funds,the owner gives him nowt and shafts him. Imagine the kudos and respect you’d get winning something under those conditions Arsene.”
    “But Mr Ashley, where on earth would I find a club like that, surely in this age of Premiership zillions, no such club/owner exists”?
    “This could be your lucky day my son, this could be your lucky day.Sign here please”…………… 🤣

    • Wor Lass

      My neighbours reckon he`s nailed on to be the next French manager. Mind you, they said it would rain yesterday!

      • Leazes.

        ….either that or modeling cardigans for Next.

        • Wor Lass

          Remember that shop that used to be next to Grey`s Monument – Next to Nowt?!

  • 1ewis

    I’m hoping we can get Balotelli. Free transfer + 15 goals a season.

    He isn’t as crazy as before, he will do well at St. James Park.

    • HarryHype59

      The club will collect £120m this season for TV money. It will pick up an eight figure sum in July for the 2018-19 TV deal. It is awash with riches and should be aiming higher than free transfers!

      • Leazes.

        Nearly the value of the entire squad.

      • Wezza147

        But we all know where the TV money goes and it isn’t on transfers!

  • ghostrider

    It’s weird but he had a striker for that price. Now what happened to him?
    Hmmmmmm.

    • Damon Horner

      He’s never signed a striker for £16mil +.

      • ghostrider

        Maybe not but he potentially has one depending on what a club is prepared to pay but Rafa could have used and still can.
        But he refused to change the game to suit.

        • Chuck D

          So you’re basically saying Rafa should have built a team around a striker who has discipline problems and shows a lack of effort in training. As much as I’d like to see Mitro do well for us, he’s not proven PL quality. I admit neither is Gayle or Joselu, hence why Rafa wanted a striker brought in last summer and again in Jan. Then your pal gave us an injured player from Leicester who didn’t score, barely played and then got himself banned.

          • ghostrider

            let’s clear this up.
            Mitrovic was/is premier quality. He’s proved it.
            His mistake was getting targeted by players and taking revenge because he was premier league naive as to knowing the best way to react and gave the ref’s a great excuse to come down on him and mark his card.

            The proof is there with him when you consider what the rest get away with…especially people like Alli and Kane….etc.

            The fans loved Mitro. They loved him because they saw passion in him and they saw a player who had it in him to gain and become better but also because he bullied the opposition.

            Remember this: Mitro’s on fire, your defence is terrified…….?
            The problem with Mitro was he was being managed by a messiah. A god……and national?……a north east treasure.
            Rafa 1 Mitro 0 in the main for most…for no other reason than a cap doffing privilege to have him and hope not to lose him, no matter what.

            Rafa’s right and everyone is wrong.
            Rafa’s tactics are sound and there’s a reason why he does what he does.
            Too many losses are down to substandard players. Championship we are told by all and sundry and not Rafa’s baffling meddling.

            A good run of results?
            It’s the genius of Rafa in knowing when to add players like Dubravka and Kenedy. A master stroke and just what we needed and all due to Rafa’s genius.

            Slimani?…..Ashley found him. Nothing to do with Rafa. Ashley just jumped in and paid £100,000 a week for him knowing he was injured…because Ashley likes to waste money….doesn’t he?
            Ohhh hang on, he doesn’t like to spend money….right?

            It’s embarrassing to be honest, to think that a man can ask for 5/6 million a year and produce a near season of garbage and yet be lauded as some miracle worker.
            I honestly chuckle at times.

            One employee who can apparently dictate the entire club ways.

          • Lakeland Mag

            One employee who has shown more ambition for the club to be successful on the field of play in the couple of seasons he’s been here than has been shown by your hero in the eleven years of his ownership – the difference between a proper footballing man and a profiteering businessman.

          • ghostrider

            More ambition for the club to be successful. How has he done that over what many other managers have done?

          • Lakeland Mag

            Read my comment again. I’m comparing Benitez to Ashley, not previous managers. Benitez sees the potential for the club to be an established, competitive top ten side, given the proper financial investment and support. Ashley couldn’t care less where “his” club finishes as long as it stays in the Premier League and his own financial interests are safe guarded. Benitez wants the opportunity to be competitive on the field of play, Ashley is happy to flirt with relegation season after season so long as he stays on the Premiership gravy train.

          • ghostrider

            No mate. Benitez sees what he wants to see with the benefit of having Ashley release exactly what funds Rafa wants.
            Anyone can be ambitious doing that.
            If I was manager I could see us winning the title and champions league with the ambition I have as long as someone stumps up the cash for which my ambition stretches.

            How ambitious would Rafa be if it was his own money?
            To appreciate a risk you have to stand in the shoes of the real risk taker. Rafa is not the real risk taker.

          • Lakeland Mag

            Nonsense. Benitez sees the situation in footballing terms as a world class, very experienced, very successful football manager. Ashley sees the club purely as a profit making business venture with no footballing ambition beyond Premiership survival. As owner, it’s up to Ashley, not the manager, to provide the necessary funds to make the club as successful on the field of play as it can be, but being as successful as it can be on the field of play is not, and never has been, of interest to Ashley. For him it’s a cash cow to further his own business interests. And, incidentally, Benitez has never pretended to aim for the title or Champions League glory,(though, of course, there was a time – pre Ashley, naturally – where we were doing those very things) all he asks for are the tools to make Newcastle an established top ten side again, with aims of possible Europa League qualification, perfectly acceptable ambitions for a club Newcastle’s size, but unfortunately our owner has no such ambitions, and is guaranteed to fail to support “his” manager to the necessary level yet again.

          • ghostrider

            That’s not all he’s asking for, at all.

          • Martin Rooney

            Check his actual record in His first year as a foreign 21 year old in his first year in the premier league. He is proven

  • HarryHype59

    Fatty sells players like Sissoko and accepts staggered payments e.g. £30m to be paid in five £6m instalments over five years. He refuses to allow managers to do this when buying players and insists players must be bought outright. This makes it very difficult for NUFC to break their 13 year old transfer record as the manager is limited to what is in the ‘kitty’.

    Fatty has to change this policy!

    • ghostrider

      No he doesn’t have to change his policy.
      It’s the best policy because it ensures that we don’t try and chase lost causes on the drip, which was why we got into serious trouble last time under Hall and Shepherd and luckily bailed out by a naive and over excited Ashley who made the error of refusing to do due diligence in the hope of doing a fast deal.

      Due diligence this time around (if he sells) is not an issue, because the club is financially sound due to his refusal to wager its existence on over priced footballers on installments.

      • HarryHype59

        Buying players on staggered payments is standard practice in the EPL. It is used by clubs far richer and successful than NUFC.

        Your master could have allowed Rafa to sign an EPL standard C F for £24m using the deferred income streams from the Sissoko deal. Instead Rafa is given money on a piece meal basis and has to bring in dross like the Hoss and Manky.

        This clubs “debt” is now higher now than it was under Hall and Shepherd!

        • ghostrider

          Give me an example how staggered payments are used by clubs far richer, unless it’s an attempt to try and get around the fair play carry on.

          • HarryHype59

            Er..Spurs! They bought Sissoko for £30m over five years!

          • ghostrider

            Therefore they aren’t far richer are they.

          • HarryHype59

            Spurs are valued at £1b and are now CL regulars. Ashley couldn’t flog NUFC for £300m. I recall a time pre Ashley when NUFC were a bigger club than Spurs!

          • ghostrider

            Valued at 1 billion with the new stadium or without?
            Newcastle United is worth nothing in money until it’s sold to a buyer who gives Ashley whatever is asked for.
            It then becomes worthless to the buyer until they sell it on.

            Tottenham are the same. Only worth what a buyer will pay, no matter how much someone puts on their price.

        • Martin Rooney

          If they are buying players in the never never they are not better off than newcastle

          • HarryHype59

            They are if that player appreciates in value. What do you think the current sell on value is for the Hoss?

      • HarryHype59

        How much do you think this club has wasted on sub standard players bought outright?

        • ghostrider

          How much has any club wasted on substandard players….but also how many clubs have made a killing on players that were not substandard.
          What’s your point?

          • HarryHype59

            Think about it very carefully! This club has a plethora of players who are not good enough for the top flight! The market has risen so much due to TV money, the only way to buy better quality players is to do so using staggered payments paid for by future TV incomes!

            It is pointless looking at sub £20m strikers in the current market. Buying cheap means you end up with a Hoss Mk2.

          • ghostrider

            This is why clubs go to the wall.
            The way forward is not staggered payments at all. The way forward is to try and find and identify better quality that the bigger clubs miss due to wanting to buy expensive tailor made players that are ready to go and paying them fortunes to sit in the reserves to be ready to hit the ground running as and when required.

            When we start buying players on staggered payments in order to pay a high transfer fee…we’re doomed. We’re finished as a top flight football club….unless some sugar daddies out there wish to bail us out.

            The days of the sugar daddies are dwindling.
            The original sugar daddies are all wanting returns on their money.

            The whole point of getting in quality management is to build quality squads by nurturing and identifying talent.
            In a well run club this is what is required.
            In a blank cheque club, some managers can hit the ground running.

            We have to do it smarter and better than the rest in order to play among them, because make no mistake, our post code is not the enticer of ready made talent unless we can beat the wages and transfer fees of the elite and/or the capital teams who are part of the top tier.

          • HarryHype59

            If NUFC continue with their current buying policy they will be relegated again within the next three years. Buying numerous cheap shirt fillers actually costs more than buying one good player!

          • ghostrider

            But surely a man of Rafa’s apparent integrity…and man who spent a good while with a lawyer making sure Newcastle United didn’t undercut him with his contractual demands, wouldn’t then allow the club to take the buying reins and just hand Rafa what they want and not him….would they?…..Could they?
            Would that not make a man of integrity and honesty and a man who’s fell in love with the fans and the city…walk out citing breach of contract, whilst apologising to the fans as to why he’s had to do it knowing the club didn’t hand him the reins?

            Or do you think he was handed a lot of money, especially for a relegated team and all the buys were his buys with that money and subsequent buys were the same?

            It might help if you take a look at his buys and what he did with most of them.
            But, if it makes certain fans feel better, they can attribute the better signings to Rafa and the bad one’s down to Ashley telling him to go for 5th choices.

            Come on man, think about it all.
            The man is overhyped and is running on media and pundit luxury nostalgia that’s manifested into some kind of genius of Newcastle United fortunes, today.
            You know what I say?
            Poppycock.

      • Schön Scheepers

        So you genuinely believe that we are better as a team, without Rafa and you honestly believe that Ashley is doing the right thing?

    • Leazes.

      Its a policy which has seen the squad value depreciate during Ashleys tenure, unsurprising that we have had two (nearly three) relegations and the fortunes of the club plummet like a stone…. the biggest crime is not competing with competitors.

      • Martin Rooney

        Squad value depreciate? Probably worth doing the maths again.

        • HarryHype59

          How many players have Newcastle made a loss on over the past ten years! Buying £5m players is a waste of time and money!

      • HarryHype59

        Ashley could have allowed Rafa to sign an EPL quality striker for £24m over four years and funded this using the Sissoko payments owed by Spurs!

        Instead he limits the manager to what is In the immediate kitty resulting in £5m shirt fillers like the Hoss. How much of the £5m fee would Newcastle recoup selling him this summer? Around £2m tops .

  • East Durham Mag

    Fatty has never given a flying f*ck about Newcastle United why would he start to care now?

  • Come&TakeIt1836

    How about a strike force of Lucas Perez, Salomon Rondon, and Tammy Abraham? It isn’t that glamorous I admit but considering our finite resources and how that compares to what we currently have, this three-some would seem to be a solid next step… quality PL skills and experience, varying ages, Spanish ties or known Rafa interest… if Abraham was a loanee, you might could sign all three with our budget (say £40M?), still have money for a young #10 (~£15M), Kenedy loaned in again, and young cover on defense and goal (5 players averaging £7M each). That is ~£90-95M spent.

    Sell Gayle, Mitrovic, Clark, Colback, Elliott or Darlow, Joselu, Mbemba, other fringe players (~£45-50M total)… net spend from the tv money is ~£50-55M. That would leave plenty to cover wages and the operation of the club. There might even be a little to stash away for the January window.

    • MadMag83

      Rondon would be a good signing. Lucas Perez not sure but he should be available after his team were relegated. Not interested in Abraham though, he’s​ hardly set the world alight at Swansea, I’d rather give Armstrong a chance before him.

  • MadMag83

    The likes of Brighton, West Ham, Watford, Leicester etc, and the newly promoted clubs like Wolves, will all invest again in their squads. Failure to provide significant investment will see them all pass us by.

    The only way we’ll see a top quality striker here is when Ashley sells up or gets carried out in his box (probably by forklift).

  • Martin Rooney

    Last time we spent 16m on one striker we needed to improve the team in other areas. Beating the transfer record isn’t important getting better players is what’s important.
    Of the 35m spent last summer only 9 of it was in the starting 11 tonight. What’s the sense in that