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Rafa Benitez refuses to sign as can’t trust Mike Ashley and replacement search starts – The Times

1 year ago
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Friday night we saw a significant update on the situation regarding the potential Newcastle United Takeover and Rafa Benitez’ position, by George Caulkin from The Times.

If you were wanting sugar coated blind optimism then it wasn’t what you wanted to hear, as The Times’ very reliable man in the north east delivering an honest but brutal update.

George Caulkin declaring: ‘Benítez has one hand on the exit and trust has already left the building…Benítez is going, going and almost gone.’

The journalist stating that after the infamous meeting with Mike Ashley and Lee Charney on 16 May in London, Rafa Benitez was offered a one year deal with no ‘structural improvements’, with no change on key areas such as transfer budget and freedom as to how it is spent.

On the Newcastle United Takeover front there was little/zero positivity, the report stating that no deal was close and no potential new owner even had a position of exclusivity in negotiations as yet.

Now on Monday morning with only six days until Rafa’s contract is up and only 10 days until Newcastle’s players are back for pre-season preparations, George Caulkin has followed up with even more depressing news.

Writing in The Times today (Monday 24 June), he states;

‘Newcastle United are to begin the search for a new manager after accepting that Rafa Benítez will not extend his three-year stay at St James’ Park beyond the end of this month.

With the Spaniard’s contract at Newcastle expiring on June 30, no fresh talks have been arranged and, as things stand, he will leave Tyneside. Benítez will not work under Mike Ashley, the owner, with trust eroded beyond repair and this summer’s takeover saga delaying negotiations and muddying a complicated picture.’

Newcastle have long maintained that they have not given thought to who could replace Benítez, but there is no realistic prospect of the 59-year-old remaining, despite his close bond with supporters and his desire to stay.’

The report states that discussions have gone on for 18 months and the net result has been a one year offer on the same salary but the key thing is a refusal to bend on any of the key issues needed to progress the club, including Mike Ashley refusing to allow improvements in the club’s infrastructure.

These include the much needed new training complex that was promised by Mike Ashley in 2013, when it was said to be essential if Newcastle were to be able to complete.

George Caulkin does say that he is aware of at least three bidders trying to buy the club, including the Bin Zayed Group.

However, as per Friday, there is still nobody at the point of an exclusivity agreement.

What a way to start your week!

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