Mike Ashley 'will hand Rafa Benitez £50m' transfer kitty at Newcastle

Mike Ashley is prepared to hand Rafa Benitez a £50million transfer kitty, according to a report.

Benitez's representatives are in talks with managing director Lee Charnley over his future and a summer transfer budget.

Owner Ashley wants Benitez – who has a year deal on his deal – to sign a new deal at St James's Park.

However, Benitez, on West Ham United's managerial shortlist, will only commit to Newcastle if he is satisfied that the club's ambitions match his own.

The Gazette last week revealed the assurances that Benitez wants from the club's hierarchy.

Benitez wants a defined transfer budget and to be able to spend it as he sees fit.

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

The Daily Mail report that that Ashley is prepared to back his manager with "at least £50million". That figure, it's reported, could increase to £70million with player sales.

However, Benitez and the club are yet to reach an agreement, and United's manager is yet to sit down with Ashley for face-to-face talks.

And the Gazette understands that the early figures discussed in talks fall short of £50million.

Ashley last week pledged to back Benitez with "every penny generated by the club", meaning Benitez's transfer budget will have to come out of Newcastle's profits.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez