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Opinion

Mike Ashley now informed what he must agree to for Rafa Benitez to stay – A simple yes or no

1 year ago
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What will Mike Ashley do?

It is the end of his manager’s three year contract at the end of the season, so will he do what it takes to keep Rafa Benitez?

A very interesting 24 hours has saw claims that 30 days ago on 6 March 2019, Rafa Benitez signed a contract with a sport agency in France, with them tasked to find him Ligue 1 clubs who will be interesting in employing him.

That French L’Equipe exclusive went into a lot of detail and obviously Rafa was always going to be asked about it on Friday at his pre-Crystal Palace press conference.

Were the newspaper claims true? The Newcastle manager gave a most definite ‘no’ to that.

However, he then volunteered far more than he has ever done before on his future.

Rafa Benitez said that (at the moment…) the only club he is discussing his future with is Newcastle United.

Rafa confirming that after talks ‘The only club I am talking about now, about my future, is Newcastle United Football Club and I am waiting for an answer.’

The NUFC boss wouldn’t elaborate any further but it was crystal clear that Rafa feels he has laid out what he wants agreed to, if he is to stay.

With the net result being that no further discussions are needed and it is simply a case of whether Mike Ashley is going to significantly move from what has gone before and properly back Rafa Benitez.

After this press conference many journalists were talking about Rafa appearing to be very happy and relaxed, as though that was a strong indication that everything was going to work out ok.

However, whilst I fully agree that the manager was happy and relaxed, I think it is simply because he feels he has done everything he can now and he can sit back to wait for the answer.

He got promotion as champions in his first full season, tenth on a shoestring budget after promotion, now on the verge of safety again despite Mike Ashley insisting  on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals last summer.

Rafa Benitez has ticked all of the boxes and if Mike Ashley says no, then the manager can (reluctantly) walk away knowing he has done the very best job he could have done.

Absolute madness if Mike Ashley doesn’t say yes.

Rafa Benitez quizzed on Friday by media at pre-Palace press conference:

Journalist:

“According to reports this morning, you name has been mentioned (in a L’Equipe ‘exclusive’ claiming Rafa had engaged an agency to find him a Ligue 1 management job) in France…”

Rafa Benitez:

“…just in France? (smiles and media laugh)”

Journalist:

Is there any truth in that?’

Rafa Benitez:

“No, I read the story. The 6th March (when L’Equipe claimed he had a meeting in Manchester with the agency) I was here training and lunch, then I left seven or eight in the evening.

“The only club I am talking about now, about my future, is Newcastle United Football Club and I am waiting for an answer.”

Journalist:

“So you have held talks?”

Rafa Benitez:

“I am waiting for an answer.”

Journalist:

“What are you waiting for an answer on?”

Rafa Benitez:

“No, I am waiting for an answer, so we have been talking, and I am waiting for an answer.”

Journalist:

“When will you expect that answer?”

Rafa Benitez:

“I don’t know….(laughs).

“I don’t know, honestly.”

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