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Thursday meeting with Mike Ashley fails to resolve Rafa Benitez uncertainty – Report

5 months ago
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Rafa Benitez met Mike Ashley in London on Thursday.

Whether by accident or design, the Newcastle United owner delayed meeting the club’s manager until the day the summer transfer window opened.

Many fans seeing the irony/stupidity of Mike Ashley waiting until this moment to (hopefully) make any effort to keep Rafa Benitez, whilst every other club is busy pursuing their summer transfer targets, with indeed some clubs having already agreed to sign players.

Friday morning has now brought an update, with the Northern Echo reporting that their information is that ‘An initial round of discussions failed to resolve the uncertainty over the Newcastle United manager’s position.’

They say that ‘..another meeting is planned in the hope that an agreement can be finalised.’

Some eternal optimists amongst the NUFC fanbase had believed that this meeting was simply to shake hands on a deal, with all the key issues having been resolved via talks between representatives of the owner and manager.

Much like when a three year deal was quickly announced after Rafa Benitez met Mike Ashley back in May 2016.

However, any thoughts/hopes of something as simple as that, appeared to have been dispelled by the Northern Echo, as well as other parts of the media also reporting on talks set to continue.

Rafa Benitez, at the owner’s request, sent Ashley his exact conditions for staying some two months ago now, though of course Mike Ashley has known for a matter of years/transfer windows of the manager’s unhappiness with the broken ‘promises’ from the Sports Direct supremo.

The Northern Echo say that their information is that to try and help an agreement happen, Rafa Benitez has even put to one side any hopes/expectations of essential work and investment in the training complex and Academy.

However, the sticking points continue to be the manager wanting ‘cast-iron guarantees’ on the transfer budget and the freedom to wheel and deal as he sees fit. The manager wanting to put together the list of transfer targets, rather than Mike Ashley and his people (Lee Charnley, Justin Barnes, Dennis Wise…?) setting the choice/criteria.

Northern Echo report:

‘Rafa Benitez will hold further talks with Mike Ashley after an initial round of discussions failed to resolve the uncertainty over the Newcastle United manager’s position.

… with the talks having failed to reach a definitive conclusion, another meeting is planned in the hope that an agreement can be finalised.’

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