Rafa Benitez is at breaking point with his treatment at Newcastle United.
Despite doing everything asked of him – instant promotion as champions and Premier League safety in mid-table – Mike Ashley is still refusing to play fair with the respected manager.
Rafa Benitez has repeated said since safety was reached a month ago that ‘talks’ were ongoing between his representatives and the club, before he will commit further at NUFC.
As suspected, it is now confirmed that in reality the ‘talks’ really amount to the Newcastle manager having informed Mike Ashley and his minions what needs to change, if he is to sign up for a new extended contract.
Craig Hope, who covers Newcastle for The Mail, has a very good record on breaking Newcastle stories and he has revealed what exactly Rafa is insisting happens, with the possibility of Chelsea tomorrow being potentially his last match at the club.
A year is still to run on his current deal and rather than the £6m buyout clause ending once Rafa is within 12 months of it ending, as has been widely reported previously, Craig Hope says the £6m buyout figure does indeed remain to the very end. Though £6m in today’s football world would stop no decent club, especially when you remember Crystal Palace hilariously paid Newcastle £2m for Alan Pardew over three years ago.
The Mail reveals that:
Rafa Benitez wants ‘in excess of £50m’ to spend this summer BUT that is not his main concern.
The manager wants the power to invest however he sees fit, rather than what happens at the minute, which is Chief Executive Lee Charnley takes details of any deal Rafa Benitez wants to do to Mike Ashley, with the club owner then saying yes or no.
So even if deals fall inside the total budget Rafa has been told he has to spend, at times Mike Ashley has blocked them, which is what most fans have already believed to be the case.
Benitez is said to have been furious when he has set up deals in previous transfer windows, only for Ashley to stop them, with even a free transfer such as Willy Caballero and loan deals such as Tammy Abraham not allowed to happen.
Bottom line, is if Rafa Benitez gets £50m to spend, he wants to be able to buy five £10m players, two at £25m, the whole lot on just one player, or whatever.
Craig Hope also reveals that the United boss has a number of other things that he believes must happen, if Newcastle United is to ever be able to properly compete.
A lack of investment in people with the right expertise and facilities, has happened year after year.
Rafa Benitez also wants the freedom to make essential changes to the academy set-up, plans which he gave to the club last year but have so far been ignored.
The training ground is another area where Rafa is insisting that the club has to go some way to catch up with what is the norm at other Premier League clubs. Newcastle’s training ground is one of the least equipped in the Premier League and only minimal improvements have been made since the manager arrived over two years ago, his plans for improvement have also been given to the club last month as part of what needs to happen.
The Mail say that Rafa Benitez won’t necessarily make a snap decision immediately, if Mike Ashley continues to be deaf to his demands/needs, and instead could wait and see what happens in the next month or two before then deciding to stay or walk away.
Rafa has also used this analogy to explain why he needs to be backed with better quality in his first team squad this summer:
“It is like a train, you have the engine and the carriages.
“You can sort marketing, commercial, the academy…but then if you don’t have power here, at the front, the train doesn’t go.
“You need power and then you can pull whatever you want.
“You have to put the priority [on the engine] and after that the other carriages will follow.
“This club has to be in the top 10.
“How? We have to do a lot of things right and to start making the right decisions now.
“It’s to do the right things in the Academy, the training ground, and do the right things, signings in the first team.
“First things first, it’s about the first team.
“You can have a lot of projects, but if the first team’s not winning, then it’s not working,”