Rafa Benitez is stuck between a rock and a hard place at Newcastle United.
A club, city and fanbase that he has grown to love and wants to stay with, but an owner who so refuses to do anything to help the manager in his ambitions to fulfil NUFC’s potential.
Rafa Benitez wants proper investment in the first team squad, training complex and Academy, but in Rafa’s two and a half years at St James Park, there has been no indication that Mike Ashley has any intention of doing this.
Nevertheless, Rafa has now indicated that he will give the club’s owner one more chance.
There have now been five transfer windows during his time at Newcastle and apart from the very first one, the other four have been a case of broken promises from the owner to the manager.
January 2017 and January 2018 saw not a single player bought, whilst summers of 2017 and 2018 saw a small net outlay on players.
The perception/belief of supporters is that Mike Ashley was ok with money being spent in the very first (summer 2016) window, as he was desperate to get back to Premier League revenues and especially the worldwide TV exposure for his retail empire. After that, he simply wants to see the club try and stay in the Premier League on the lowest possible net spend.
In Rafa Benitez’ time at the club, there has actually been a profit of over £30m made on transfers in and out, this at a time when every other club is spending everything they are able to, to try and progress on and off the pitch.
By now, Rafa Benitez is fully aware that he can’t believe anything that Mike Ashley says. Statements promising ‘every penny’ aren’t worth…even a penny.
This past summer saw another ‘every penny’ promise for Rafa Benitez to spend in the transfer window, only for the club to actually make a £20m+ profit on deals in and out. Newcastle one of only two PL clubs to make a profit on transfers, even the likes of Cardiff, Huddersfield and Brighton having net spends at least £50m higher than Newcastle United’s in this last transfer window.
No wonder Rafa Benitez has had no interest whatsoever so far, in tying himself to Mike Ashley for anything beyond this initial three year contract.
However, when asked yet again about his contract situation, the Newcastle manager has opened up a lot more than previously has been the case.
Rafa saying that he will wait and see what happens in the January 2019 transfer window before he makes up his mind.
So depending on what the Newcastle manager sees as being necessary at the time, Rafa Benitez will make his needs/wants known ahead of that January window, then it will be up to Mike Ashley as to whether he will change direction and start properly backing his manager.
We live in hope.
“All the things that have happened during the summer have to be forgotten [and concentrate on the football now].
“Then we can talk about that [new contract], maybe, in April.
“We have plenty of time to talk.
“We have to concentrate [now] on what we can have an influence on, and that is the team and preparation for games, and whatever.
“We can talk about January and what is going on, but after January…
“Have we done what we had to do or not?
Then you have more answers to your questions [about my future].
“But I think now it’s too early.”