Lee Charnley was the man who did the negotiations to get Rafa Benitez to come to Newcastle on March 11th, 2016.
And once again Mike Ashley is leaving the negotiations to get Rafa to stay on at Newcastle to the Managing Director – who has a good working relationship with Charnley.
Indeed one of the things Rafa wanted when he decided to stay with us in May 2016 was to keep Charnley in place as the top executive at Newcastle.
Rafa was upbeat and even jovial with the reporters yesterday.
Rafa Benitez – upbeat yesterday
And we have to remember this year the manager has almost single-handedly increased the value of Mike Ashley’s club by up to £100M.
You would, therefore, think the owner will give Rafa everything he wants to keep him at the club because he’s earned it.
From Rafa’s demeanor yesterday you could even conclude the initial conversations with the club have gone (very) well.
This is what Rafa told the Chronicle about the negotiations:
“The positive thing is we are talking, I agree with that.”
“We have had a conversation.” “Will have more meetings next week and see where we are.”
“As I said before the issue for me is to concentrate on football and leave the representatives and Lee Charnley to do the talks.”
We wonder if Mike Ashley – given that he keeps the club – will bother to come to the games next season and continue to be an absent owner.
But it’s clear from a business viewpoint that Rafa is key to Mike Ashley and Newcastle United – he will keep increasing the value of Newcastle United.
That’s why Mike Ashley will not want to sell Newcastle – any time soon.
And why Ashley will not screw up these vital talks to keep Rafa Benitez as the Newcastle manager.