The local journalists in Newcastle – just like the rest of the fans – are trying their very best to find out what exactly is happening in the talks that started last Thursday afternoon with Lee Charnley and Rafa about the manager’s potential new deal to keep him at the club.
Newcastle are keeping things quiet, and that’s a good thing as long as both sides can deliver a deal within days and announce it on the Newcastle United website.
A press conference with Rafa would then be a crowning moment for fans and journalists alike – and in fact, everybody associated with the club.
Rafa is back home in the Wirral Cheshire right now probably trying to get a few days holiday with his wife Montse and their two teenage daughters.
Talks are ongoing between the two parties remotely, and Ashley’s helicopter is reported to be on standby this weekend in case he has to meet Rafa to iron out some details in the contract.
The good news is the report indicates that “both parties are carefully reading through a contract in place to extend Benitez’s deal.”
If that’s true, then progress has been made, but whether Mike Ashley is as stubborn and stoic as reported and no breakthroughs have been made – we hope that’s not entirely accurate.
The talks are said to be taking place in a civilized business-like manner which is also good and apparently, Rafa has pitched his vision and blueprint for Newcastle’s future directly to the owner.
Wish we were there as a fly on the wall – but there again I wouldn’t have been able to keep quiet.
Maybe fans can get to see the blueprint Rafa has put together for Newcastle once he signs his new deal?
The elements in conflict at the moment are the amount of funds Rafa will receive in each transfer window – the figures quoted in the press are simply not enough.
And the manager wants Ashley’s self-imposed blueprint of not signing older players to be relaxed significantly, but only when Rafa believes it’s necessary to put out a strong and experienced team onto the field.
Rafa also wants extra funding for the club’s Academy, but it’s unlikely he will get any significant funds to improve the playing fields at Benton for at least a year or two.
News from Thursday’s meeting indicated that Rafa has agreed to that and understands the reasons for that: money for the team is the most critical priority in the next year or two.
As we said, this report is encouraging and of course, we are reading between the lines a little – that’s’ also true.
But it’s encouraging that the two sides are talking calmly and professionally about what’s needed.
And if Ashley is on standby to potentially fly to Liverpool at a moments notice to discuss points in the contract with Rafa – to ensure there are no misunderstandings this time around – that’s got to be good.
It shows Ashley wants a deal to keep Rafa.
We certainly hope that’s the case.
Comments very welcome.