Mike Ashley is still desperate to keep Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.
That is a claim in a new report on Tuesday morning.
The Telegraph report that the Newcastle United owner has instructed Lee Charnley to find out from the manager, what it would take to convince him to stay on beyond this season.
As always with Mike Ashley, you never know what to think, although by now I think we have all come to assume the worst.
Obviously you’d first of all have to assume that the newspaper’s information on Mike Ashley’s thoughts on Rafa are on the money.
Which to be honest is a lot easier to accept/believe than the idea that the NUFC owner has any genuine intention of trying to convince the manager to stay.
These past four transfer windows have actually seen Ashley seemingly working against Rafa, never mind the bizarre idea of actually properly backing him.
Rafa Benitez has repeatedly talked of broken promises made by the club’s owner, how om earth that equates to supposedly belatedly wanting to satisfy the manager’s needs, is anybody’s guess.
The Telegraph report claims that Mike Ashley hasn’t been understanding enough of the financial situation at St James Park.
Whatever that financial reality is or isn’t, it could never justify this summer’s insistence on making a £20m+ profit on deals in and out.
A policy that has guaranteed Newcastle United will be fighting relegation this season, as everybody else has strengthened, whilst Newcastle have arguably gone in the other direction.
As Rafa Benitez has made clear himself since the summer window closed, he is waiting to see what happens in January before there can be any chance of staying on at Newcastle United.
After not allowing Rafa to buy a single player in the past two January windows, can we really believe anything will be different this time?
I think the vast majority of Newcastle fans clearly want Mike Ashley out of the club no matter what he now does, over 11 years experience tells us he is poison when it comes to NUFC.
However, Rafa Benitez is a pragmatist and loves being at Newcastle United for many other reasons beyond the owner, so you just wonder what it would take from Mike Ashley to convince him to stay at a club where he really does want to stay?
‘Newcastle United will have a meeting to discuss their transfer budget for the January window this week, as part of an effort to persuade manager Rafael Benitez to remain in charge beyond the end of the season.
Benitez will make a series of requests when he sits down with managing director Lee Charnley, who has been urged to find out what the Spaniard feels he needs by owner Mike Ashley.
Ashley attended his first Newcastle game for almost 18 months at the weekend and witnessed a dire 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace in London, in which their lack of firepower in attack was made blatantly clear.
Although Ashley still feels Benitez has not shown enough appreciation of the financial situation at St James’ Park, frequently complaining about a lack of ambition in the transfer market, he remains keen for him to stay on as manager.
Benitez, who has argued he is yet to see proof of that desire to keep him, will not agree to sign a new contract until he has heard how much money he has to spend.
Ashley’s view (this summer) was that there was no point signing players on long-term deals if the manager who brought them to the North East was not going to commit his own long-term future to the project.
That led to the imposition of a sell-to-buy policy that left Newcastle more than £20 million in profit when the window closed at the start of August.
Critics have argued Ashley’s stance was an act of self-harm as it deprived Newcastle of the same sort of investment enjoyed by the other Premier League clubs looking to survive this season.’