Mike Ashley holds crunch Newcastle United talks with Rafa Benitez

Mike Ashley met Rafa Benitez for talks after Newcastle United's win over Cardiff City.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 19 January, 2019, 19:00

The club moved out of the Premier League's relegation zone after beating Neil Warnock's side 3-0 at St James's Park this afternoon.

Ashley, United's owner, watched the game with associates Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop.

Mike Ashley.

And the Gazette understands that Ashley met Benitez – who wants to strengthen his squad this month – for talks at the stadium.

Benitez is waiting for a transfer breakthrough, having submitted lists of potential targets to managing director Lee Charnley last month.

Speaking after the game, Benitez said: "I'm not talking about the transfer window or the takeover. I cannot control those things."

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Benitez wants to sign a No 10, a winger and a left-back in the January transfer window.

Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle's manager had to sell to buy last summer after refusing to sign a new contract before getting assurances over spending.

As it stands, Benitez – who hadn't spoken Ashley for several months – will leave the club in the summer when his contract expires.

Ashley has been trying, unsuccessfully, to sell to the club since October 2017.

United fans chanted against Ashley during the game.