Newcastle United briefing: Update on Mike Ashley's meeting with Rafa Benitez, Ayoze Perez's title joy

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley

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Rafa Benitez has held his long-awaited meeting with Mike Ashley.

Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley met Newcastle United's owner last night for talks.

The future of Benitez – and the club's summer transfer budget – were up for discussion.

Here's your daily briefing:

Taking flight

Benitez and Charnley took flight last night from the club's training ground.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

A helicopter ferried the pair to a meeting with Ashley – and the early indications are that the discussions went well.

The club, however, has made no comment.

And it is unclear whether Newcastle will make any kind of announcement following the meeting.

Benitez was looking for them to "put ideas together" in the wake of Sunday's Championship triumph.

Newcastle's players celebrate winning the Championship

Newcastle's players celebrate winning the Championship

Newcastle's 3-0 win over Barnsley at St James's Park, and Brighton and Hove Albion's failure to beat Aston Villa, saw Benitez's side win the league.

Benitez wants to significantly strengthen his squad ahead of the club's Premier League return.

But to do that he will need significant funds.

Benitez had said "we'll see" after being asked if he would be in charge of United next season last month.

Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez

West Ham United have been strongly linked with Benitez after a disappointing first season at the London Stadium.

Benitez came close to taking over at the club before joining Real Madrid in 2015.

'Great future'

Ayoze Perez is in no doubt about the importance of Benitez to Newcastle.

The forward – who scored against Barnsley – believes United could have a "great future" under Benitez, his Spanish countryman.

“It’s very important he stays,” said Perez. “Under Rafa, I think the future will be very interesting.

“Let’s see what happens, but it could be a great future. He is very important for us now and next season.”

Perez scored against Barnsley with a clever flick.

The finish brought back memories of one of his first United goals – the backheel against West Bromwich Albion three seasons ago.

And Perez has been speaking about the goal and his emotional reaction to the club's title win.

“This is a great achievement – something unbelievable – and I will never forget it," said the 23-year-old.

“I will keep my medal in a special place.”

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