Well respected journalist Keith Downie has revealed today that Rafa Benitez is not happy at Newcastle.
And that’s especially with Mike Ashley – who seems to make everything very difficult at Newcastle for his manager.
That’s been true for almost 11 years now.
Rafa wanted signings early in January, but Mike Ashley didn’t even get involved until halfway through the transfer window after returning from his vacation in Miami.
We ended up getting three loan players in and two on the very last night of the transfer window.
And it turns out that Islam Slimani was only Rafa’s fourth or fifth choice for striker.
Rafa – doesn’t look happy in this photo – and we won this game at Stoke
This is what Keith Downie has written in Sky Sports:
“Rafa Benitez is not happy.”
“He’s got Kenedy now, but he wanted him in the summer, not halfway through the season.”
“Slimani, I understand, was on his list of possible striker signings for January, but he wasn’t his priority. He was fourth or fifth choice.”
“I think he is satisfied to have at least got those players in, but he feels it should have been done a lot earlier rather waiting until the end of the window.”
“He could have had them in for three or four games already. And right now, with so few games to go, every game and every point is massive.”
“So he is frustrated. I think he just feels the club drag everything out and make it hard.”
“He gave them his list of targets at the start of the month, but they didn’t get them in until deadline day.”
“He had already done the checks and background work on them himself, so why not get them in earlier?”
“There’s no doubt that the takeover had a massive impact on the January transfer window.”
“Staveley promised she would spend money if she had taken over.”
“But Ashley didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something he might not own in four months time.”
This report will only make clubs like West Ham even more keen to try to get Rafa signed in the summer.
It’s difficult to see Rafa signing a long-term contract with Mike Ashley still the owner, and we doubt there will be a takeover before the summer.
The big attraction of Newcastle to Rafa is the club is a sleeping giant with fantastic fan support and a wonderful stadium with the City of Newcastle football mad.
That could keep Benitez at Newcastle for next season, but that will be the final year of his three-year contract.
Then what happens?