The Newcastle United fans in the Transfer Tavern are desperately hoping that they can keep Rafa Benitez at the club this summer, but recent reports suggest Mike Ashley will have to defy expectation in order to give the supporters their ultimate wish.
Ashley has cut a hugely unpopular figure at Newcastle in recent years due to the club’s lack of spending in the transfer market. Now that Benitez finds himself in a position of power after leading the Magpies to an unexpected 10th place finish, the Daily Express believe he has demanded a transfer budget of £100 million in order to remain at the club.
Although it seems unlikely that Benitez’s demands will be met – unless Ashely is able to sell the club – Newcastle should table a bid for the services of Ruben Loftus-Cheek if the Spanish manager is handed a generous war chest.
Loftus-Cheek was deservedly called up to the England squad earlier this week after an excellent campaign with Crystal Palace in which he played a key role in the club’s survival bid.
The 6ft 3in midfielder is a power prospect with plenty of strength and pace to bring to the table, but it’s his textbook technique and ability to frighten defenders with his twinkled-toed dribbling technique that is most impressive about the England international.
His record of just 2 goals and 4 assists this season is a rather modest reflection on what he has provided for the Eagles, but his end-product is bound to improve with further experience in the top-flight.
With his future at Chelsea remaining heavily in doubt and the World Cup less than a month away from kicking-off, the Magpies need to act fast to secure his signature, as a glittering performance on the international stage is bound to intensify interest from across the continent.
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