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It’s close…Rafa Benitez will sign a long-term contract – Sky Sports

3 months ago
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Sky Sports are now reporting that agreement on a new Rafa Benitez contract is imminent.

Newcastle fans were left baffled when no urgency was shown during the season to reach agreement on a new deal.

With major work needed to get the team/club in shape for the challenges of next season and beyond, it was common sense that the manager’s position needed securing ASAP so he could start on work for the transfer window and the new season.

However, we are now 11 days into the summer transfer window and absolutely nothing made public since the widely reported meeting between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez in London on Thursday 16 May.

Keith Downie is the Sky Sports man covering Newcastle United and he says that his information is that agreement is ‘close’ and that ‘I’m told lawyers, agents and others are now involved in going through the finer details of the contract.’

Downie states that it isn’t unreasonable transfer spending demands from Rafa Benitez that is the big obstacle, rather it is having the freedom to sign who he wants and for the club to be prepared to pay realistic wages for certain targets, beyond what the highest earner (£75,000 per week according to Keith Downie) gets at the moment.

The Sky Sports journalist says that Newcastle fans will ‘get their wish and Rafa Benitez will sign a long-term contract’, let’s hope he’s right.

However, with Rafa Benitez repeatedly saying that part of what he wants is to be able to act quickly in transfer windows and tie down targets early, the very fact that every day this drags on eats into the transfer window, means Newcastle supporters have every right to be sceptical about a predicted happy ending until we hear otherwise.

Keith Downie who covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports:

“My information a week ago, two weeks ago, was that it was close.

“I know that they have been in dialogue for the best part of a week now, they met last Thursday (16 May).

“When I say they, I mean Rafa Benitez, Lee Charnley the club’s managing director and Mike Ashley. Those talks carried on into the Friday and then everyone headed off on their separate directions.

“I’m told lawyers, agents and others are now involved in going through the finer details of the contract.

“It’s kind of just the way Newcastle do things really, they never do it easily or quickly.

“I can understand why the supporters are getting frustrated but they need a bit of time.

“There’s no point in getting irate and getting angry and putting too much pressure on because the one thing the supporters want and they’ve made it clear is that Benitez remains at the club.

“I know it’s difficult for them (Newcastle fans) but they probably just need to give them some time to get this done. They should…the information I’m getting…get their wish and Rafa Benitez will sign a long-term contract.

“There’s plenty of sticking points, Ashley has ran the club in a certain way over the last 5-10 years where they only sign players of a certain age. He doesn’t like signing players over the age of 26, 27 who don’t have any sell-on value.

“That’s something Rafa Benitez wants to change. He wants to change the wage structure, he wants to sign players who will earn more than £100,000-a-week.

“At the moment Newcastle’s highest earner is on £75,000-a-week. There’s certain things he wants to change. It’s not that he wants to be given £50m or £100m every transfer window.

“Benitez feels he’s been not so much lied to…but he feels promises haven’t been kept in the past, so he wants all these assurances in writing.

“So there’s a lot of paperwork and a lot of toing and froing to go through.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into next week but the noises I’m hearing are positive ones from inside the club and Rafa’s side.

“I suppose with Newcastle and the way they are and the way things have gone in the past, no one will actually believe that until they see it in writing and he’s standing inside St James’ Park with a scarf above his head.”

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