Former Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given has called on the Toon owner to dip into the club’s coffers and hand Benitez a hefty transfer budget if the Spaniard completes the job of guiding them to Premier League safety.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town moved Newcastle a huge step closer to survival.
And Given hopes that Benitez is backed in the summer with a decent war chest if Ashley remains at the helm of the club.
“Probably Rafa will be saying we’re not 100 per cent safe because they’re not mathematically safe but that win at the weekend against Huddersfield was huge,” said Given.
“If Huddersfield had have won it would have been a different complexion on the table.
“I think that win gives them belief and they deserved it. It would be great to see them stay in the Premier League for next season and hopefully Mike Ashley will dip into his resources and give Rafa huge finances in the summer to build that club up.
“We were in the Champions League and challenging for the Premier League, and that’s where the club belongs. It deserves to be up at the top part of the league.
“But Rafa needs the backing of the owner and hopefully he will get that in the summer.”
One of the players who looks set to be on Benitez’s transfer wishlist in the summer is goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, after the Slovakian has made a big impression since his loan move from Sparta Prague in January.
Dubravka has yet to concede a goal at St James’s Park, with three clean sheet including a stunning debut against Manchester United.
Given is well placed to judge Newcastle goalkeepers, having made more than 400 appearances for the club in a decade at the club, and he says Benitez would be mad not to make Dubravka’s move permanent, especially given the reported fee being just £4million.
“His start against Man United was Roy of the Rovers stuff,” said Given. “Coming into the Premier League, a new country and new language, and he looked like he had been there for 10 years.
“It was a fantastic debut and he’s just given the whole football team, the whole club, a lift.
“The confidence he gives as well, he’s very positive on crosses and the Man United game he made some vital saves.
“The crowd up there, when you make a big save it’s like scoring a goal, they’re right behind you and give you huge support
“Rafa was wanting a goalkeeper for 18 months and it’s only a loan deal but he would be mad not to tie him down to a long-term contract.
“Kenedy is on loan as well and Rafa has had to wheel and deal in the transfer market.
“You just wish he could be given a bit more money to compete with the big boys.”