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Mike Ashley on how it ended with Rafa Benitez “Joelinton was the test” – Never forget

10 months ago
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Joelinton reached a new low today.

Could have/should have had a hat-trick against League One Rochdale and instead watched on as a 40 (FORTY!!!) year old striker showed how it is done at the other end.

That makes it 22 Newcastle United appearances (21 starts), playing 1,703 minutes and scoring one goal in five months.

For many fans, they think Joelinton, as well as not looking anything like a goalscorer, isn’t putting the effort in either.

How true that is, only the Brazilian knows.

What Newcastle supporters are unanimous about though is that it is astonishing that anybody thought Joelinton was worth £40m.

Indeed, Mike Ashley stated (see below) that the now 23 year old was worth £43m in his opinion and he (in)famously claimed that he told Rafa Benitez that he would pay £23m of the transfer fee out of his own pocket, as Rafa had refused to sanction the transfer, saying he didn’t want to sign Joelinton and he was worth £20m at the very most.

So many questions and not enough (any?) answers.

Why was Mike Ashley insistent that £40m (£43m) HAD to be spent on Joelinton? A player whose best goalscoring season was eight goals in the Austrian league.

Why doesn’t Martin Samuel now go back and ask Mike Ashley exactly why Newcastle had to pay this money for a player who had done nothing at all to suggest he was worth £40m+ and other clubs weren’t competing to pay that.

Maybe Samuel could also ask why Mike Ashley then didn’t pay £23m of the Joelinton transfer fee regardless of Rafa Benitez staying or going.

As we have found out, believing anything Ashley says is dangerous.

He told The Mail in July that if Rafa had agreed to buy Joelinton he could also have signed Rondon. Does anybody actually believe this???

Even more hilarious, Mike Ashley told The Mail that he’d promised Rafa Benitez £20m would be spent on the new training complex promised back in 2013 and at the time said to be ‘essential’ if Newcastle were to compete. Why hasn’t work started on the training complex then? As surely the club need the new state of the art facility regardless of who is manager, or…head coach.

Mike Ashley PR statement in The Mail with the help of Martin Samuel – 26 July 2019:

Mike Ashley insisted on Friday night that it was ‘impossible’ for Newcastle to have kept Rafa Benitez – and that the former manager was determined to take a lucrative deal to China from the start.

Ashley revealed he even floated the idea of an eight-year contract with Benitez at a meeting on May 16, and that the manager’s refusal to commit could have cost the club record signing Joelinton.

Ashley claims the club suspected there would be problems with the Benitez negotiation when he declined to sign off on the £40m deal for new striker Joelinton in February. As manager, Benitez had the final say on all transfers, but would not give the go-ahead on Joelinton even though Newcastle had the fee and personal terms agreed, and the player had passed a medical.

Ashley revealed: ‘We delivered Rafa’s number one target in January, Miguel Almiron, but Hoffenheim wouldn’t sell Joelinton. Then in February they said we could get him early, but it would cost £40m. He was a name we had discussed with Rafa, and our recruitment people had him top of their list. I thought it was one of those that would keep drifting away, but no, we had it done.

‘I was so excited to tell Rafa we’ve got another one coming, but when Lee Charnley, our managing director, had the conversation, his view was that he didn’t want to commit to the transfer until he knew what his position was with the club next season. And I didn’t get that. Is this the bloke who had given it to me for the last 12 months?

‘Proper given me bucketfuls – which I may or may not deserve, but I don’t deserve it on this one, because I’ve done it. I’ve got his first choice, Almiron, and this other player who was so exciting we thought he’d be out of our range. When we first sat down with Rafa, we didn’t think we would pay this much for a player. We’d never done that before.

‘From there, the relationship deteriorated very quickly. I was personally very disappointed, and that’s putting it politely. I was freaked out. I’m thinking, “I clearly don’t understand anything about football” because I’m all for celebrating and going mad and suddenly it’s, “No – you’ve got to sort my deal out first.” So we had another few weeks of correspondence and then it wasn’t just his deal, it was that he thought the £40m for Joelinton wasn’t worth it. It’s too much and the club shouldn’t spend it.

‘And very occasionally, I get to be me in this world. So here’s the deal. I’ll pay £20m of it personally. Nothing to do with the club. Above and beyond the budget. Rafa valued him at £20m. So that’s what would come out of the club budget. The rest, £23m – I’ll pay. And he still didn’t sign it off. Looking back, I think he knew for a long time he was going to China because it was like we couldn’t do anything. Joelinton was the test.

‘Why on earth would you not want that? As a football manager, with all the things you have said, why wouldn’t you want Joelinton? It wasn’t even as if it was him or Salomon Rondon. And we told him that. We just wanted Joelinton secured.’

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