An interesting, but worrying, update on the situation regarding Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.
As it stands..
Rafa Benitez has so far refused to sign an extension to his three year contract which has only one more year left to run.
Exactly three weeks into the transfer window and with only three and a half weeks to go until pre-season training begins, the only signing Newcastle have made is Martin Dubravka, a deal that only had a very limited time limit (like Christian Atsu a year earlier), whereby the agreed £4m buying figure that was part of the loan arrangement, had to be triggered by a certain date.
Taking those two things into consideration, The Chronicle have given us a worrying update.
They say a stand-off has developed between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez.
The report says that the owner is refusing to give the manager a transfer budget this summer, until Rafa signs a contract extension.
Meanwhile, the local newspaper says that the manager is refusing to sign any new contract, until he sees ‘evidence’ that Mike Ashley shows the ‘desire’ to back his manager with what needs to be done.
A classic Catch 22 situation but one where everything should point at Mike Ashley, as to the one who needs to shift.
Rafa Benitez has achieved everything asked of him.
The manager delivering instant promotion, 10th place in the Premier League, and even a profit in the transfer market in his five transfer windows so far.
Rafa has an established record of bringing success to football clubs, the plan that needs to be put in place, as shown when taking Valencia to two La Liga titles and Liverpool to two Champions League finals, winning one of them.
When it comes to football, Mike Ashley has been proven to be a total failure, with two relegations and a few near misses already.
What needs to happen is common sense for anybody to see.
It was the luckiest day of Mike Ashley’s football life when after sacking Steve McClaren belatedly, Rafa Benitez approached NUFC offering his services.
Even Ashley wasn’t foolish enough to turn that one down but will he prove foolish enough now to not back the best manager he will ever have?