Still Concerns About Whether Ashley Has Rafa’s Level Of Ambition

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Alan Shearer’s complete mistrust of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has come out today in his article in the Sun and the former iconic Newcastle number 9 striker is still not convinced that Ashley will come up with the support that Rafa Benitez needs for the summer and longer term for that matter.

Alan points to the interview after the game when we hammered Preston last Monday night to gain an automatic promotion spot and he was asked if he would be here to lead Newcastle and he said “we’ll see”.

That was done deliberately since he wants as much as he can get from Mike Ashley so he can build the side he wants next season in the Premier League.

Mike Ashley – is his ambition lacking?

Rafa is not one who will stay in place if he has his hands tied behind his back – he wants a level playing field so his Newcastle side can compete with other top managers at clubs like Chelsea, the two Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool.

This is what Alan Shearer has said in his column in the Sun today:

“As soon as promotion was confirmed and Rafa refused to commit his future to Tyneside, I had to worry.”

“Quite simply, he needs about eight new players just to turn Newcastle into a mid-table Premier League team.”

“Benitez won’t want to go into next season knowing he has a squad only good enough for a relegation scrap. He won’t have it.”

“There is a huge opportunity here for Newcastle to establish themselves again as a top-flight force.”

“But he now needs, at the minimum, a £150M investment in new players.”

“And I am not convinced that will happen.”

It’s not clear Rafa needs as much £150M in cool cash.

Rafa will have  a massive clear-out of players in the summer in order to both reduce the Newcastle wage bill and also generate some transfer funds he can use from players he sells.

There could be as many as 12 first team players leave the club this summer including:

  • Florian Thauvin – sell to Marseille for £10M
  • Henri Saivet – sell if possible
  • Emmanuel Riviere – sell if possible
  • Kevin Mbabu – another season long loan
  • Haris Vuckic – contact will not be renewed
  • Sammy Ameobi – contact will not be renewed
  • Yoan Gouffran – contract not renewed
  • Achraf Lazaar – sell if possible
  • Jesus Gamez – sell if possible
  • Matz Sels – a season long loan deal
  • Massadio Haidara – sell if possible
  • Daryl Murphy – loan to a Championship club

So maybe with Thauvin, Saivet, Riviere, Mbabu, Lazaar, Gamez and even Sels he could generate some transfer funds – maybe as much as £30M for them?

One of the problems is that we get the money from those transfers in installments, so it’s not always immediately available this summer.

But if Ashley was willing to give Steve McClaren £80M two years ago he’ll be willing to give at least that in cool cash for Rafa, who actually knows what he’s doing , unlike Steve and Rafa has the world-class record and credentials to prove it – again unlike McClaren.

If Ashley cannot trust Rafa Benitez to run Newcastle United for him in all football matters – who can he trust?

Last summer we brought in 12 players and made a profit of £40M according to Newcastle’s financial records but most high value players are gone, although Rafa may want to sell Siem de Jong and Tim Krul.

But he needs six new players brought in and he could do that for less than £100M.

We really don’t think the money is the problem and Alan’s questioning Mike Ashley’s commitment and ambition for Newcastle.

Hopefully he will have grown some of that since Rafa came on board and did something very strange and rather unusual – he started winning games.

As we’ve said before we would be very surprised if Mike Ashley is a problem to Rafa this summer.

But we’ve been wrong before.

Not this time though!


Comments welcome.

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