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Mike Ashley offers Rafa Benitez new 12 month extension and won’t get transfer funds unless he signs – Sunday Times

2 months ago
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A Sunday morning update, from a more credible source than usual, reports that Rafa Benitez has now been offered a one year contract extension to help get the club through this (latest…) difficult period.

With takeover talks allegedly still going on/progressing, The Sunday Times say their information is that a new approach has been made to the Newcastle manager .

The report telling us that if he agrees to a 12 month extension up to summer 2020, Rafa Benitez will be given a transfer budget this month.

The alternative being no contract, no funds.

It was anticipated that if there had been a shift on transfers in terms of Rafa Benitez at last getting reasonable backing, then signings would have been quickly announced so as to have maximum time to help in this relegation struggle, especially being ready and integrated in time to play in what looks a crucial relegation six pointer against Cardiff in 13 days time.

However, rather than the likes of long-term target Miguel Almiron being announced, we are simply getting the regular lame transfer speculation linking us to a dozen Ligue One left-backs that you have never heard of.

The idea of signing a contract meaning transfer funds being available has been a story ran any number of times (see below) as Rafa’s contract has ticked down.

Indeed the last (summer 2018) window we were told that Mike Ashley had informed Rafa Benitez that he would only get a transfer budget if he signed a new contract and we all laughed – because surely Ashley wouldn’t be that stupid…

Nobody was laughing though when the transfer window closed on the eve of the season and Newcastle had made a £20m+ profit on deals in and out, with Mike Ashley persistently refusing to allow Rafa Benitez to even spend the funds generated by sales.

This is one time where Mike Ashley certainly appeared to keep his word…

With his contract in the final year, Rafa Benitez has repeatedly said he would wait to see what happened in this January window before he decides anything, the manager looking for goodwill from the club’s owner to be shown first.

It looks very much like he will be waiting  a long time before he sees any of that.

The circus that has surround the alleged takeover has not exactly helped. After Mike Ashley appeared on Sky News on 3 December, some days later Rafa was asked if the owner had informed him what was happening, the manager replying that he hadn’t been told anything about a takeover by the owner before his surprise TV appearance, or indeed the days that followed.

With this transfer window it has been the same story, Rafa Benitez repeatedly saying he had not been told if he had any funds to spend in January, until he finally called time on the questions, a very fed up looking Rafa in recent press conferences refusing to answer any questions on the takeover and/or transfer window.

The Sunday Times – 6 January 2019

Rafa Benitez has been offered a one-year extension to his contract at Newcastle in order to sort out the latest transfer window stand-off that is threatening his future at the club.

Ashley, who is keen to sell the club and has called on would-be purchasers, including Kenyon, to meet his asking price of between £280-£300m this month, remains unlikely to strengthen heavily during January without agreement.

The Mag – 7 June 2018:

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.

The Mag – 19 July 2018:

Mike Ashley said (on the final day of the season) that  ‘every last penny’ was available…I don’t do the numbers and so I don’t know exactly what it means. We are fine in terms of profit so maybe you have to ask Lee Charnley, he has the numbers.

“I am trying to do my best in these conditions, that is what I can say.

“I don’t think an extension is an excuse for anything…because if you sign a one year extension what does that mean for the players you sign on a five-year contract? This is nothing, it is not an issue. A lot of clubs have managers and they then finish a contract but still they improve the squad to be sure that they (the club/team) are better.

“Still, I don’t think it’s an issue with my contract (as to why the training complex and Academy can’t be invested in now) – I told Mike (Ashley), Lee (Charnley) and Justin (Barnes). They know that if we do the right things (and make proper investment), then I am keen to stay here for five years, or whatever.”

The Chronicle:

‘Newcastle first offered a five-year deal to Benitez but United and the Spaniard’s representatives couldn’t come to an agreement after some requests weren’t granted.

It is believed that a one-year extension – around the time Benitez was offered the caretaker job with Spain at the World Cup – was then pushed the 58-year-old’s way but the Toon boss felt there was little point in a short-term solution at the club.’

The Mag – 22 July 2018:

Little surprise then to see this ‘exclusive’ appear on Sunday morning, with many Newcastle fans already putting it down as the work of Ashley’s PR man Keith Bishop.

The Sun are the ones with this ‘exclusive’, claiming that all Rafa Benitez needs to do to get a “£100m war chest” is to sign a new three year contract.

The thing is, even if this ‘exclusive’ had/has some substance, when you actually read the story, it doesn’t even add up to a major leap in ambition.

The report doesn’t claim Rafa would get £100m to strengthen the squad now if he agrees a contract extension, instead Mike Ashley would supposedly allow him to spend £100m over the course of the next three years.

So that would amount to an average of £33m per season, or £16.6m per transfer window, plus whatever he raises through sales of players.

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