Rafa Benitez holds all the cards when it comes to his future at Newcastle United, so it’s worth noting any time he strays from the script.
Managing for penny-pinching owner Mike Ashley has been a slog for the former Liverpool and Napoli boss, but Benitez has endeared himself to the Geordie faithful by staying with the club through relegation and saving the club’s Premier League status on (probably) two occasions.
The Magpies fell 2-0 to Arsenal on Monday, a match few thought Newcastle would win at the Emirates Stadium.
“We were close, but it was about chances in the final third. … The final third we have been speaking all season, the final third you have to spend £40M £50M, £75M.”
Newcastle is likely to have broken its transfer record this winter — Miguel Almiron has to meet some contract conditions to get his deal past Michael Owen‘s previous record — but that deal falls short of those big figures.
And as Benitez begins contract discussions with Ashley, Newcastle supporters can run down a list of strikers the Magpies did not buy despite persistent rumors… and what their price tags became once the players met their potential. Names like Batshuayi, Piatek, and Monday scorer Lacazette were all scouted by the Magpies but never arrived at St. James’ Park as a player for the home team.
What do you think? Will Ashley and Newcastle do enough to keep Rafa?