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What Ashley Needs To Give Rafa To Keep Him At Newcastle

Mike Ashley will not try to get Rafa Benitez to sign a new deal to stay at Newcastle past June when his current three-year contract runs out.

Ashley had offered Rafa a new deal in the summer for five years, but Rafa didn’t want to sing it until he had some assurances from the owner on some things.

As far as we know Ashley is still not willing to acquiesce to those demands from the manager.

And apparently, he only agreed to bring in Almiron and Barreca at the last month last Thursday after much persuading – maybe from Charley and some comments that Rafa has reportedly made.

If that’s true, that’s not particularly good news.

Newcastle fans just love Rafa for what he’s doing for Newcastle United

Over the last year or two this is what Rafa has wanted from the owner:

  1. More drive and ambition needed  in the transfer market and create a new process so deals can be completed much more quickly
  2. Be able to spend the transfer funds allocated as he sees fit, and is willing to be held accountable for the transfers in and out of the club
  3. Needs Ashley to commit to spending more of the club’s money on new players in the transfer windows – especially in the coming summer transfer window
  4. Be able to concentrate on bringing more players like Dummett and Longstaff through the Youth Academy, and he will need investment to do that as well as revamp the scouting area – and both initiatives will save the club money in the long term
  5. Wants the training fields at Benton improved and needs Ashley to invest funds in bringing the grounds up to par with the top six clubs in England

Of those five general requirements, we think Rafa would be happy if he can get the first three agreed by Ashley and then work on the other two becasue they are longer-term things.

Improving the team has to be the highest priority becasue once we are up there challenging for a top eight or top six position success breeds success.

And hopefully, we will have a strong enough squad to be able to compete in each of the two local Cup competitions.

So it would take Mike Ashley much to agree to some of Rafa’s demands, but he is stubborn and doesn’t seem to want to give up any financial control of the club.

On the positive side, we’re sure Rafa loves training the team and stuff like that which he just loves, and the personal relationship between Rafa and Ashley is probably a lot better than fans think.

Benitez is given a completely free reign on the training and team selection, and that’s something he didn’t get at other clubs he’s managed like Inter-Milan and Real Madrid.

The fans are also fully supportive and appreciative of everything Rafa does at Newcastle.

That wasn’t the case at Inter or Real – or at Chelsea.

This is what Rafa said recently about the upcoming talks with Ashley:

“I will talk about what we have done.”

“We signed two players in two positions that we needed. I think every single fan knew that we needed two players.”

“They knew that we needed a left full-back and a No 10. So we signed two players in these positions.”

“Now we are a little bit better than we were before because we can manage, we can create competition and if we have to change something, we can.”

There’s a lot of positives going for Rafa at the moment – only Mike Ashley can stop the progress being made and even force Rafa out of the club, which is still possible.

Let’s hope the owner is a lot flexible and willing to agree to most of Rafa’s demands.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

41 comments so far

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:07 PM

    Comment #1

    hibbit from previous re papering over the cracks.

    Rondon, Muto, Perez, all three could play with Almiron behind them. Yes, the best option is Rondon, but we do have cover if he is injured

    All players need time to adjust to the club. I think the majority of fans will give him that time. I hope so anyway.

    I’ve said all along that I think he’s a little lightweight. Hopefully he can be like a Zola figure and be so nippy and agile that he doesn’t need to be strong. I think he’ll probably drift in and out of games, but we’ll see.

  • beermonkey

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #2


    u forgot horsalooooooooooo or just plain donkey

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:16 PM

    Comment #3

    We need to stop the bickering. The window has closed and we are now what we are and as fans, let’s get behind the gaffer and the players that, despite what some have claimed, are giving their very best. Any shortcomings are not from a lack of effort, just simply that they’re possibly slightly out of their depth attacking wise.
    Almiron has the potential to be the difference. He has blistering speed going forward and a willing grafter fighting back. From listening the Atlanta fans he also lacks a big ego. He’s what we need, let’s get behind him, give him time to settle in remember – massive step up – and let him feel the love.
    I know it’s asking a lot, but if the knacka can just allow Rafa to bring in a few in the summer – and he stays himself – then we can at least have a go at some cup games. Fighting relegation is not the time to go for cups, let’s be realistic.
    Every time we coin a song for a player, every other club nicks it. I’ve coined my own, hope you like it. If you do feel free to post it wherever you like. They can’t nick this, it’s too specific to the man.


    Feb 3, 2019 at 6:26 PM

    Comment #13
    “We said to Stevie Nickson, go watch the MLS.

    We need to find a superstar, he has to be the best

    He came back home to Rafa, he said I’ve found the one

    He’s got great skill, he scores great goals, his name is Miggy Almiron

    Oh, Miggy Miggy, Miggy Miggy Miggy Miggy Almiron!!! “

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:19 PM

    Comment #4

    Beermonkey lol how did I forget about the Hoss? Must be losing my marbles…

    Our he’s just not very good


  • beermonkey

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #5


    he is worse than strolla but we pay him a wage so we have to count him

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #6

    Shame to get beat by such a crap goal on Saturday, thought we deserved a point.

    Almiron gives us options but if Rondon is injured we’re Fcuked, the Hos is useless and I’d rather stick Clarke up there instead.

    The Almiron deal was the bare minimum for me, a token gesture to Rafa. We should have got cover for Rondon as well, hope we don’t regret that.

    Too little too late, I think we’ll stay up but I thought we would before the window.
    It’ll still be hard but were capable of getting the results needed.

    By too little too late I mean this type of player should have been bought in the summer along with a striker instead of loans.

    I’m not sure if I’m keen to here Ashlies update or I’d rather hear nothing, I’m not expecting a sale confirmed.

    I’d like to think that if no positive announcement regarding a sale has been made by the time we’re safe then protests will resume ten fold.

  • hibbit

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #7

    Re Almiron, like most on here iv’e seen the you tube clips “the very best of Almiron ” like i say i not seen enough of him to categorize him……would i be happy if he tuned out like Zola of course i would……..all i was saying was the lad my need a little time to regain his fitness and settle

    Re Rondon, were not half the team without as has been proved over the last few games without him we lose a vital component in Rafa’s game plan and a vital ingredient in our survival which the players you offer up as a replacement don’t fill

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #8

    Can’t see the Hoss getting many starts now. Muto is a No9 and Perez fans have been telling us forever he’s a No9, not a No10 so he’ll get his chance if Rondon is injured.
    Rondon though, is streets ahead of any competition up front. With him holding the ball up allowing Miggy to feed off him we could have the best counter attacking option in the league. Everybody else needs to get racing to keep up and support Miggy.
    One thing for sure, he doesn’t lack confidence to go past players if he is on his own. He’ll win us plenty of free kicks and/or penalties with mistimed tackles. He also takes great free kicks.
    I think he’ll get 20 minutes at Wolves at least and definitely start against Huddersfield. Needs to work on his finishing but that can be improved. Just a matter of coaching him when to shoot and when to pass.
    I think we’ve got a gem and Rafa will get the best out of him.
    Still desperately hoping Ashley can sell but if he can’t and wants to keep Rafa – which he must – then he must give him assurances written in blood. Nothing less will do.

  • beermonkey

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #9


    we bought almiron for the profit it appears we have bought alot of player for 20 mill if he adapts we could double our money
    and what sort of money would it take to get longstaff

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #10


    Longstaff has done well but he needs to continue to work hard, I’d like to see him with Ki or Diame see how It works out.

    I’m not bothered about the money, it’s right players in right positions for me.

    Ashleys all about the profit instead of the performance of the team.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #11

    watched a fair bit of MLS, absolutely delighted we’ve signed Almiron! kids possibly the best player to ever play in the MLS! For anyone worried he’ll be too lightweight, believe me the MLS is far more physical than england and the players are far fitter, athletically its the strongest league in the world for me, where it lets itself down horribly is tactically and technically, which would be my only worry on Almiron that his decision making might not be that great!
    He also ripped up the argentine league as a teenager and that league is closer to MMA than it is football! Hes also absolutely terrified Otamendi and co for Paraguay! Now if we could just pop a bid in for his Atlanta co-star Josef Martinez we’ll be laughing!

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #12

    I’d be happy to develop Almiron and sell him for profit, as long as that profit was invested back into the club either through the squad or the infrastructure. This is how a normal business operates, unless that business is Man U, Man City, Chelsea and the like who seem to have unlimited funds.

    We’ll never be there under Ashley.

    hibbit, agreed Rondon is the best of the bunch. Not sure Muto has been given a proper chance yet, but for sheer physical presence he can’t do the same job as Rondon, or even Joselu for that matter. He’s a different kind of player I think. He does know how to score though, as proven in the Man U game at Old Trafford. He could form a different kind of partnership with Almiron, as could Perez.

    At least Rafa has options now, which seemed very limited before. Rondon with Perez behind and only Joselu as back-up was squeaky bum time – no wonder Rafa was reluctant to start Rondon in the FA Cup.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #13

    Love how longstaff has done! not 100% he should be ahead of a fit Diame, Ki or Shelvey though? With a fit squad really we should be looking at him getting minutes off the bench and stepping in where necessary! Hes young, and hes made the step up from u23s well but lets not kid ourselves hes currently better than a squad player in the EPL, he can go all the way but he has to continue improving and learning!

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:56 PM

    Comment #14

    If Almiron could get 2 or 3 goals and 4 or 5 assists it would be a decent return for a new player in a new league.

    I hope he hits the ground running and people don’t expect too much to begin with.

    Looks a exciting player, a lot of fans have forgot what it’s like to stand up with excitement watching a player go past opponents at pace.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:56 PM

    Comment #15

    @RobLeenio – Muto played up top on his own in Germany quite a bit, more in the way that Jamie Vardy plays tho than a target man! If hes fit I think he might be ahead of Joselu now as Rafa gave him time to adapt, learn english etc

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #16

    Longstaff’s a long way from being the player he will be. The potential is massive but as with all young lads just coming in, a bad game could hurt his confidence badly. Let’s not pile the pressure on the lad too much because we know there’s a section of our fans just waiting for him to slip up – build him up, shoot him down. Local lads in particular get unfair stick from some of our fans. Look at Dummett for an example.
    Rafa might well rest him when everyone else is fit. Don’t take this as being dropped, just rotated. Let’s build up up gently and get the best from the lad. Massive potential. Trust Rafa, he knows what he’s doing.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #17

    @Optimistic Panda, thing i think that guarentees Almiron will do well is how explosive he is…he isn’t actually that quick over a long distance, can’t see him running in behind much but he’s honestly the absolute quickest player ive ever seen when it comes to accelerating from standing to top speed…kinda in that way Ben Arfa was… Might sound weird and I’m sure fans will notice it when he starts playing but I swear down hes actually quicker with a ball at his feet than without one too

  • beermonkey

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:01 PM

    Comment #18


    reinvest when have we ever done that

    ki yes diame nope takes him to long to get into form who knows what he will be like after a this injury
    is diame out of contract in the summrt

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #19

    jayphoto, Ricardo74 shared a link to a couple of Atlanta fans talking about Almiron and their close-season in general. It seems Josef Martinez has just signed a new 5 year deal with Atlanta, which if they’re sensible will have a big buy-out clause. He’ll be expensive and won’t be available in the Summer at least, though I agree he would be a good buy for us, especially if we are able to secure Rondon long term given they play together for Venezuela.

    Agree on Muto – a different proposition to Rondon, running the channels and looking for the ball in behind. A Dwight Gayle type, rather than a target man. I too hope to see more of him now he’s back from the Asian Cup, I’m a firm believer in playing the right team for different circumstances and a player like Muto up against a Wes Morgan type will give something different to Rondon who does seem to get drawn into a physical battle for the sheer fun of it.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #20

    Diame has an automatic extension built into his contract, based on appearances. Not sure if he’s yet hit the threshold required to trigger it.

    Agreed we’ve never seen the money made invested back into the club. Hopefully Rafa can try to get some kind of assurance that this will happen in the future. Can’t see him wanting to stay if he doesn’t.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #21

    Just on Longstaff, there’s been news the last couple of days that he’ll get a call up to the England U21s. How has he been missed to this point? Do the England youth coaches just not scout up here after a certain age? It’s always seemed that we’ve had players progressing through the different youth grades from U16 onwards, but what about those who develop later? Club England need to reassess and make sure there aren’t other players maybe slipping through the cracks.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:12 PM

    Comment #22

    @RobLeenio agree with that Rondon note! Not sure if anyone else picked up on it but theres been a few times this season when Rondon has had the clear beating of a CB but seem to have got distracted by a battle with a physically superior partner of that CB…Noticed it vs Chelsea when he had a clear beating of Luiz but seem to get caught up in battling Rudiger (who had the beating of him), Similarly against West Ham he got lost in a battle with Diop who absolutely dominated him! I noticed this saturday against Spurs he avoided going anywhere near Sanchez and kept pulling onto Alderweireld so maybe its something they’ve worked on?

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:15 PM

    Comment #23

    Got a feeling Longstaffs form and sheer engine might be the nail in the coffin of Diames contract extension if hes not already triggered it with appearances? CM is an area really we need a big upgrade in, Diame plays the defensive ball winner in there and if you compare him to other Premier league players of the same role he should never be more than a squad player, and if next season all he is is a squad player I think Longstaff might prove the greater investment with Diame and Hayden moving on and a first team Ball winning midfielder coming in!

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:21 PM

    Comment #24


    From what I’ve seen he looks very leggy, coukd be why he’s quicker with the ball, he’ll draw a lot of fouls.

    I’m looking forward to watching him, he looks a intelligent player but not the finished article.


    Couldn’t tell you on Diame, I’d just like to see Longstaff with a senior CM player to see what else he has to offer. I think he’s playing within himself and not taking too many risk, experience and game time will build his confidence so we’ll see more in time. Rafa will do him right.

    To be honest I’m still waiting for him to lash one in the top corner from 20yards, it’ll come, soon hopefully.. 🙂

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #25

    I did a smiley face thing, check me, internet genius!

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #26

    @optimistic panda – Id just like to see Longstaff play a game against a midfield that wasn’t worth over 100m to be honest, so far hes played Liverpool, man City, Spurs and Chelsea… We picked up good results with him away to watford and home to cardiff!

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #27


    That’s why I’m hoping he’s still getting game time in the next several matches, give him more chance to express himself.

    I thought after his goal in the cup he’d have tried his luck a few more times, he’s got it in his locker.

    He’s the best prospect I’ve seen in years, could have a very bright future.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:37 PM

    Comment #28

    @optmistic Panda – the sheer amount of ground hes covered in January has been astounding! Such an engine! If the potential is there and the attitude is right i trust Rafa to make him one hell of a player, it’s been too long inbetween academy prospects breaking into the first team! His time out on loan seems to have done him well,Sorensen is at the same club so lets hope he pushes on too! (although to be honest when ive watched him hes got this really weird knack of having an absolute stinker of a game but grabbing a couple goals)

  • Optimistic Panda

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:43 PM

    Comment #29


    From what I’ve seen of Sorenson and it’s only a handful of games he doesn’t do much, sticks the ball in the net but isn’t really involved in the game.

    He needs to get more involved when I’ve watched

  • 9

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:47 PM

    Comment #30

    Goal-wise we’re clearly a one-man team. Spurs looked like it on Sunday, they were all over us, had the ball in our box loads and loads of times but it took an almighty blunder by our excellent keeper for them to score. Longstaff is now a first team player as far as I’m concerned, and one of our best ones at that – forget the rotation nonsense. Diame is our wrecking ball and when he’s on song, look out opposition!

  • Bambams

    Feb 4, 2019 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #31

    So I wonder what spin Ash will put on this failed takeover, looking forward to his ‘statement’ whenever it is.

    Maybe waiting for a good win before sneaking it out under the ‘ agony aunt ‘ section in the Mirror newspaper.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:10 PM

    Comment #32

    Despite Haydens recent good spell which I think a lot can be accredited to Rafa’s man management of his situation, it is definitely time to move on in the summer and I hope there’s no ill feeling toward him because of it, he’s done his bit and he’ll be happier closer to wherever it is he wants to be. Hopefully things will be sorted at the club in regards to Rafa being able to bring in his number one target as his replacement.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:11 PM

    Comment #33

    Hopefully OLG will be able to tell us what’s in the statement before it comes out, I’m sure that if he tells us after a good old sesh in the Gun Inn at two AM there won’t be any local journo’s reading to pinch his scoop.

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #34

    Jay, there’s plenty of lightweight players, in the PL but let’s face it, referees protect players so much now its difficulty to put in a decent tackle without being penalised. I think he’ll be fine mate.
    That said, from what I have seen of him – started taking notice when we were first linked to him – despite his slight build, he’s not easily knocked off the ball. He has incredible ballance and takes most things in his stride without slowing down much. Needs to sharpen up his finishing but he seems to get so many chances that his goal return for a No10 is still impressive.
    Nobody has really seen Rondon in the PL in a team that creates a lot of chances for him. Despite that, he usually gets double figures so I’m looking forward to seeing how he links up with a proper No10. Somebody who specifically makes the connection between midfield and attack.
    The better the quality, the more attacking we’ll get to see from the team. We don’t attack more because we can’t retain the ball up front not because Rafa, tells them to give it away and just defend. Sheesh! 🙂
    I think we’ll see a marked difference in the goals for column during the second half of the season. A bit more quality added in the summer is, asking a, lot from Ashley so let’s hope a sale is forthcoming – unlikely as that sounds.

  • Pickup Points Benitez

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:18 PM

    Comment #35

    @jail I can see Hayden, if he keeps his form up, going to Watford. A move he would take and a team who i think would take a punt on some prem experience if not top quality.

  • Online Guy

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #36
  • c-dog

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #37

    Maybe muto needs time but he’s barely even showed a glimpse of any real quality. A 9 million striker is bargain basement nowadays. Unfortunately that’s reality

  • Mister Tuff

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:44 PM

    Comment #38

    Longstaff has been a revelation. Very good player indeed. If you didn’t know you would not have thought he was a new introduction to the team.
    Now I think as far as I am concerned I can say this lad is going places -football wise.
    No phased playing against “stars”. As just stated a terrific motor – he is all over the pitch. Energy tremendous.

    Having said that he was”done” twice by Son – sold him the same dummy – first one did not matter second one did – just before he scored.

    But he can only get better.

  • bettyswallocks

    Feb 4, 2019 at 6:50 PM

    Comment #39

    How’s tricks OLG? What’s occurring ?

  • Bobbybee

    Feb 4, 2019 at 7:19 PM

    Comment #40

    Mr T, yup, Longstaff has been beaten a few times lately with moves a more experienced player might well have seen coming, but as you rightly point out, he will get better. He’s just beginning his PL career and it has great promise.
    Reality check for those getting too carried away is he’s not ready yet to replace Ki or Jonjo. Jonjo can be a game changer and Ki is far more consistent, but one thing guaranteed is that, if they don’t perform to their best, he’s right on their heels and pushing hard.
    What he also offers now is the potential to play 433 if required.
    With injured players returning and the two new signings, Rafa finally has selection problems to juggle with. With his nous, that’s all good news. I have every belief he can make the most of a bad situation.
    Although I wouldn’t blame him for walking after the way the knacka has treated him, I’m still desperately hoping he can still see a way his project can work with the right assurances. Sadly, just how reliable such assurances are worth doesn’t fill one with confidence.
    Why he can’t understand that we don’t want his money, just the money the club is given for staying in the league? That’s what it’s for – to make the club competitive, not buy high street failures.


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