The Chronicle is reporting today that Lee Charnley and Rafa Benitez had positive talks this week about Rafa potentially staying on at Newcastle past his current contract which ends next June.
And Rafa made a pointed reference to Kevin Keegan in his press conference yesterday and indicated that he hoped he could be as successful as Kevin Keegan was as the Newcastle manager.
Rafa seems a big fan of Keegan as a footballer and as a manager.
Kevin didn’t win anything at Newcastle and Rafa will want to do that but Kevin’s period as manager at the club in the 1990s brought new fans across the world to the way Newcastle played some exciting attacking football.
Rafa Benitez – wants to stay at Newcastle
Here’s what Rafa said about Kevin Keegan yesterday
“Keegan was great here and I would like to do as well as he did here.”
“He was amazing as a player, as a manager and everything.”
“But I am so focused on my team that I do not have time to read what is going on.”
“If it’s a good book, I will read it.”
And it looks like the transfer meeting touted for this week will take place today.
And it will probably be after the home game at Lassiter City today and that’s one reason why Mike Ashley could be attending the game today.
Rafa is happy to live in Newcastle and commute the fairly short distance back to his family home in the Wirral, Cheshire – which he’s now been doing for over two years.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem and it’s a lot better than having to travel back from places like Napoli, Madrid, and Milan which he’s done in the past.
Rafa agreed to a number of things in the contract offered to him last summer – including the wages which are thought to be around £6M/year.
But he still needs guarantees on more money being available in the transfer windows and he wants to transform the current Youth and U23 setups.
Both squads are not doing well with their results this season and the Peter Beardsley situation still has to be sorted out by the club.
And Rafa still wants improvements overall to the training facilities at Benton.
There are still things that Ashley must give to Rafa if he is to stay on Tyneside.
What seems clear is that Rafa is more than willing to stay at Newcastle – even if Mike Ashley is still at the club.
His positive statements about Mike Ashley coming to games shows that he is willing to continue at Newcastle United even if Ashley is still the owner.
This is what Rafa said at his press conference yesterday:
“If the owner wants to be around, that is positive, it has to be positive.”
“I don’t see any problem with that because it means that he cares and is supporting the team.”
“Hopefully that will be the case in the next weeks and months.”
To get back to earth a little from this potentially good news on Rafa is that Newcastle have made a very poor start to the season.
And now we have Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez out of the team for today’s game at home to Leicester City.
We really need a win today, although fans are not too confident of a good result.
A win today and Rafa maybe moving closer to a long-term stay at the club would raise the spirits of everybody connected to the club.