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Opinion

Rafa Benitez could sell £50m worth of players but Mike Ashley only give him £10m of that to spend

12 months ago
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Mike Ashley has once again promised ‘every penny’ to Rafa Benitez.

However, one year on from the last ‘promise’, the manager isn’t quite so quick to take things at face value.

The bargain signing of Martin Dubravka went ahead on Wednesday but still no sign of Rafa extending his NUFC contract.

Just under three weeks ago, one year and three days after the original ”every penny’ statement, Mike Ashley released a very very similar one.

Mike Ashley – 10 May 2017:

“I’ve confirmed to Rafa Benitez he can have every last penny the club generates through promotion, player sales & other means.”

Mike Ashley – 13 May 2018:

“Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.”

So when Mike Ashley talks of Rafa Benitez getting ‘every penny generated by the club’, what exactly does the manager get?

Well last summer Rafa certainly didn’t get what he was expecting.

I think that it is very likely that a key factor in negotiations between Rafa’s people and the club, has been money to spend from player sales…and exactly how many pennies that would equal.

If you actually believe Mike Ashley when he says Rafa gets every penny, including cash from player sales, the big sticking point is timing.

With Mike Ashley happy for clubs to buy Newcastle players over a period up to as long as five years, you have the following potential scenario.

Rafa Benitez this summer sells: Mitrovic, Saivet, Mbemba, Sels, Colback, Gayle, Armstrong, Toney, Merino. With say transfer fees of around £50m in total.

However, if the manager agrees to the sales, it might only add £10m to his summer transfer budget.

Under Mike Ashley’s preferred system, Newcastle would get only 20% (£10m) of that cash up front, then £10m in 2019, £10m in 2020, £10m in 2021, and £10m in 2022.

A lot of people are fantasising about selling Mitro for £20m+, then using £10m of his basic budget, Rafa could then sign a £30m+ striker of his choosing…if only it were that easy.

I think this is probably why the Serbian number 45 is still on Newcastle’s books, despite Rafa making clear two years ago he wasn’t a big fan. What incentive is there to trade in one of your strikers, even if he is only on the bench, for £10m – if you are then going to get only £2m of that cash to strengthen the team/squad in the immediate future?

Newcastle United are at a stage where they need to be investing heavily for the future, or else there might not be a future…or at least not an attractive looking one.

If Rafa could sell players as described above, it would make far more sense to then get all the fees up front, even if it meant getting £5m-£10m less than that £50m figure. As I think Rafa could make far better use of £40m now, rather than the bulk of £50m coming in sometime in the future to spend, probably.

Rafa having as much cash as possible to spend now, would very likely equal accumulating more cash as well anyway, far more than what you would get extra by selling on credit. Te 10th place this past season is proof of that.

Hopefully the next ‘statement’ from the club will be when Rafa Benitez breaks the club’s 13 year old transfer record…
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