Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez was asked, as is the norm nowadays, about his contract situation at the club, and his response suggests that owner, Mike Ashley is simply sitting on his hands and letting the clock tick down.
It is a week since Rafa told the media that he was talking to the club about an extension to his current deal, which many fans took to be a positive sign.
But Rafa today said the position regarding his deal is “exactly the same” as it was a week ago, suggesting that no further dialogue has taken place.
It will be alarming to fans, who had started getting their hopes up in the wake of last weeks confirmation of talks between the Spaniard and the club.
The Daily Mail report Benitez said: “It is exactly the same situation that I had before, so I am waiting and the main thing if I am asked about this is just to talk about the game, and I just try to get three points.”
Ashley and Lee Charnley already know exactly what it will take to keep Benitez at the club, so quite why no further talks have taken place, is baffling.
Even if they are apart in their discussions, logic would say that they would have sat down and tried to talk through their differences, or at least tried to negotiate and find some common ground in the middle.
The fear is that Ashley has no real intention of giving any ground to Rafa, and is just waiting for the season to end, and — as he did with Alan Shearer after his temporary spell in charge — let the contract expire.
If that is the case, there will be mutiny on Tyneside, and it would be a risky game for the club to play, with fans threatening to boycott the club and cancel season tickets if their hero leaves.
As bizarre as many of the decisions the hierarchy at St James’ Park have made in the past, not doing anything to keep Benitez would take stupidity to another level.
Newcastle fans will hope that it is just a case of Charnley sifting through Rafa’s list of demands, before getting around the table and thrashing out a deal that suits both parties.
It promises to be a turbulent end to the season for Magpies’ fans, both on and off the pitch, with nothing less than a positive outcome in both being accepted.
What are your thoughts about Rafa’s contract situation? Do you think he will stay, or will Ashley and Charnley find a way to alienate the fans further? Let us know your thoughts…
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