Talks between Rafa Benitez’ representatives and the Mike Ashley minions have not progressed.
It is now a month since Newcastle realistically were safe from relegation and yet Rafa has now revealed that ‘It is more or less the same situation with the contract.’
At any normal club that would have then been the catalyst for rapid action to be taken, securing the future of your world class manager and making clear what backing would be available to now take the club forward.
Asked when he needs clarity on what is happening, Rafa Benitez said ‘as soon as possible’, with the meaning appearing to be this week in advance of the season ending, the United boss saying ‘before the summer.’
We are now in a position where the end of the summer transfer window is only 13 weeks away due to the deadline day being brought forward.
With Premier League safety assured last month, it isn’t as though Mike Ashley has been waiting for something further to happen before making any decisions.
The revenues for this season are already known, give or take a few million on league position, even that though is only marginal as whilst the club get £1.9m extra for each higher league position, the bonus system means that the playing squad get £1m of each extra £1.9m per place.
Since safety was reached, Rafa Benitez has now made a series of interviews/press conferences where he has made clear he needs to be assured that he will be properly supported in the transfer market, before he commits to any extended contract.
Each time the message is getting clearer and louder, the only thing we don’t know is whether Mike Ashley is inclined to listen.
The United boss states now what he expects to get the backing to do, saying ‘The level this club has to be competing at is in the top eight of the Premier League or higher.’
Every extra day that goes by without Rafa agreeing a new deal, is an extra day of worry because it signals that the club’s owner still hasn’t given the manager the assurances he needs.
Rafa Benitez asked how talks are progressing about his future at the club:
“It is more or less the same situation with the contract.”
Then asked by when he needs to have clarity on the situation:
“Maybe before the summer, I don’t know…but as soon as possible.”
Asked what needs to change/happen at the club to make it successful:
“To do the right things.
“As I have said many times before…that means to clarify our ambitions going forward.
“I have to say what I have to say and that is very clear.
“Everybody, all the fans, they have the same feeling as me, and o it is something we need to clarify.
“I have had three challenges since I came here:
“The first one was to try and keep Newcastle in the Premier League – but we couldn’t do it.
“The second one was to go up at the first attempt in the Championship and we did that.
“The third was to stay up and we did it, we did it early.
“So I’m quite happy overall with the challenges but still I’d like to compete for something more.
“It’s not that we want to come to a top side and think that if we lose 1-0 we can protect our goal difference. That is what I don’t like to do, I want to know that we can win.
“What I will say is this, and I have said this many times…this is a massive club.
“If we want to compete in the Premier League, and at a good level, then what we have to do are the right things – that is it.
“We can’t be thinking that our position is ‘We’re safe, great.’
“No – we had fifty two thousand fans at St James Park in the Championship last season, between three thousand and nine thousand fans at away games in the Championship.
“The level this club has to be competing at is in the top eight of the Premier League or higher.
“We want to compete in the Premier League at a good level.”