The Star has a report out today in which they say Rafa is refusing to sanction deals for Newcastle’s central midfielders.
That’s one of the areas the manager needs to make some decisions on.
Mo Diame is a free agent at the end of June, and it’s almost certain he will leave since the club will not offer him a two-year deal to stay on Tyneside.
And there are no shortage of takers for Diame, and he should be able to get a two-year deal fairly quickly – even at a Premier League club.
Mo has done a good job for us in the three years he’s been at Newcastle.
But it’s a lot more complicated with Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey.
Shelvey didn’t have a good season and was kept out of the team by Sean Longstaff, Ki, and Isaac Hayden.
A decision to be made this summer for Rafa is whether he will sell Shelvey and he doesn’t want to make that decision now.
He doesn’t need to either until he knows the future of Isaac Hayden.
Rafa would like to keep Hayden on board, but he cannot even speak to him until the boss himself knows whether he will be staying at Newcastle.
Isaac could be offered a new deal to stay, but he has family problems to solve, and he wants to move south to be closer to his fiance and their baby.
The impressive Sean Longstaff will be given a bumper new contract to stay at his hometown club, with the Red Devils reported ready to bid £25M over the weekend for the 21-year-old star player.
The Star are dramatizing this all a little by reporting that Rafa is refusing to sanction outgoing deals for his midfielders.
But when you look at some of the complicated underlying issues – now’s not the time for Rafa to make those decisions.
But it does put pressure on Mike Ashley and company to come up with some decisions on Rafa’s potential new contract and get him signed.
If it extends another week, it will start to look like a circus.
And not for the first time under owner Mike Ashley.