Rumours have emerged that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley may be about to loosen the purse strings in a bid to get Rafa Benitez to stay on at the club.
With Premier League survival looking more assured every week, attentions have already started to turn to next season, and more particularly, Rafa’s contract situation.
It is thought that Ashley is so desperate to get him to commit his future to the club, that he is willing to break from tradition, and allow the Spanish maestro to bring in a marquee signing this summer.
The report in the Newcastle Chronicle, confirms it would be reliant on him signing a contract extension, and there is no way that Rafa would do so without written guarantees of the club’s future direction.
The fact that the hierarchy realise the necessity of keeping Benitez should be seen as a good sign. But Newcastle fans are dubious about any promises the club’s distrusted owner makes, and until photos appear of the ink drying on a signed contract, any such claims will be met with the usual scepticism.
We, at Transfer Tavern, don’t think that one big name signing is what Rafa is looking for. We think he would be far more likely to sign on the dotted line if his requests to revamp the academy, give him full say on incoming players and a guaranteed budget for each window, where he can buy as many or as few players with the money as he likes.
A big-name signing would be fantastic, but you can’t transform a squad with one great player and little else, whereas building a decent squad by trusting Rafa’s judgement could make all the difference.
Yes, he has made a couple of questionable signings in the past, with Grant Hanley, Achraf Lazaar coming to mind, and it’s looking like Antonio Barreca may well be added to that list, but more often than not, he gets it right.
And at the end of the day, if all his conditions and demands are met, Mike Ashley cannot lose. He’ll either have a team that may be capable of breaking into the top eight, or if it all goes wrong, then neither Rafa nor the fans will be able to lay the blame at his door.
What do you think it would take to get Rafa to stay? Would a marquee signing be what you would want? Do you believe anything that Ashley says? Join in the debate below…