There’s a piece in the Chronicle today that reports Mike Ashley will put the club up for sale for a minimum of £400M this summer and with Newcastle safe in the Premier League and likely to finish in the top ten he is less willing to sell for anything less than that high figure.
The other way to look at this is that if Ashley can persuade Rafa to stay for only an extra one or two years and he backs him in the transfer market with decent funds, then Newcastle could be worth a lot more than £400M in two years time.
That’s why he will only take an outstanding offer to sell the club this summer – and it likely will not happen.
The other thing we could hear from Ashley and his people on the ground at Newcastle – Lee Charnley, Justin Barnes and PR man Keith Bishop – is they will fully back Rafa Benitez this summer.
And they are likely to make a big deal of that because Rafa is key to them and he’s key to Newcastle.
Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley – will stay in place for at least two years?
But Ashley said last summer he would back Rafa with every last penny the club had, but he then didn’t give the manager more than £20M net to spend last summer and limited his deals last January to only three loan deals.
It would be in Ashley’s interests to sign Rafa up – but we don’t think Rafa would sign for a really long-term deal with Ashley still the owner.
Ashley’s best bet would be to extend his contract by a year or two and maybe give Rafa a rise in wages.
That would give Rafa time to make the team that much better than we are right now, and the club that more expensive in two years.
One thing that Ashley would have to solve is that Rafa wants to overhaul the Youth Academy and also significantly improve the training grounds at Benton which are not suitable for a top club.
So if we hear that Mike Ashley wants to sell, he will back Rafa to the hilt this summer and wants to extend Rafa’s contract then this could be what he’s thinking.
Wait two years when the price of the club – if Rafa does well – could be more than £600M.
It would be a good move for Ashley who would get more money to satisfy his greed.
With Newcastle looking like they will only get better with Rafa Benitez at the helm we would be surprised if he sells up this summer.
What do you think?