There’s a report in the Chronicle today that says Rafa will need to have some commitments from Mike Ashley on transfers and transfer funds if he is to sign a new deal to stay at Newcastle.
Rafa will not entertain any meetings with Mike Ashley until we are well on our way to safety in the Premier League.
And Rafa is confident he can move the Newcastle team up the table especially since he got two players he wanted in January – Miguel Almiron and Antonio Barreca.
But it took Newcastle two months to eventually sign Almiron, and there were long periods with no contact between the clubs during that time.
Rafa Benitez overseeing training in Murcia, Spain
That happens a lot with Newcastle when we go after the player – if it’s not the fee the club value the player at – then the deal is almost over.
Rafa wants that attitude and the process of doing the transfer business to change drastically.
And he wants to spend the transfer money as he sees fit – so Rafa is sticking to his guns with Ashley and not backing down one little bit.
But with miserly Mike Ashley still the owner he will find it difficult to get everything he wants.
In the Sports Direct business, he has been dramatically successful by drastically reducing costs so he can then sell the goods for a low and competitive price.
So in his business, his substantial success has been brought about by successfully cutting costs.
That doesn’t work in football.
Rafa also wants investments in the Academy and the Training grounds and Newcastle have said they will do that but at a later date.
Rafa does not accept that, and he wants some improvements made immediately.
The manager is also keen to save the owner some money by bringing through local lads at the club.
And one outstanding example this season has been 21-year-old Sean Longstaff who has been brilliant for us since December.
Rafa also wants four or five new signings in the summer so he can have a squad that can start to challenge for the top six in the Premier League.
Rafa will move out fringe players like Joselu, Rolando Aarons, Jamie Sterry, Rob Elliot, and Achraf Lazaar to make way for the new players and to further improve the squad.
We’re not saying we can finish in the top six next season, but at the very least we will not be fighting relegation once again.
That would be a move forward under the current owner.
And that’s one of the problems Rafa has – Mike Ashley seems to have no real ambitions for Newcastle other than to keep us in the Premier League.
Rafa is likely to take these negotiations down to the wire in an attempt to get most of what he wants.
But whether Mike Ashley will honor the agreements with Rafa once they are made is another question.
We have this strange situation at the club of the owner not willing to back his world-class manager so that Rafa can make Newcastle United into a much more successful and therefore much more expensive club.
There’s something wrong there with the owner’s logic that we have never quite understood.