Rafa Benitez has a simple message for Mike Ashley as he considers his Newcastle United future

Rafa Benitez says actions will speak louder than words at Newcastle United.

The club is 12th in the Premier League after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Southampton.

Benitez, however, will only sign a new deal if he believes he has the backing to take the team even higher next season.

United’s manager is “waiting for answers” from owner Mike Ashley after outlining what it would take to get him to sign a new contract.

“It’s not what we say, it is what we do,” said Benitez. “I don’t care about what we say, the main thing is what we do.

“The teams in seventh, eighth and ninth spend £100million and pay £100,000-a-week. So what do we want to do? Do we want to compete in this range, or do we want to survive? That’s it. That’s what we have to decide.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

“I’ve not had any answers, so I want to know what their answers are. If I have the answers, then I can decide.

“The main thing for me is not what we think or say, it’s what we do.”

Benitez, also looking for autonomy in the transfer market, wants the club to compete on wages as well as transfer fees.

“Everything is about money,” said the 59-year-old. “If you sign a player like Richarlison for £45million, then you have to pay a certain amount in wages.

“We have to be able to compete. The way that we are, we have to be competing against Everton, but they’re competing to be seventh and to go to Europe. If they’re paying £140,000-a-week in wages, how can you compete with them and attract players if you do not do the same?”

Benitez wants to sign on-loan striker Salomon Rondon on a permanent deal, but he knows the club’s hierarchy, keener on younger players with a re-sale value, don’t want to pay a big fee for a 29-year-old.

“(Martin) Dubravka won the Manchester United game for us last year, and he’s not 24,” said Benitez. “Rondon’s been crucial this year. These players can give the other players more time to grow and improve.

“I don’t need to talk too much about that, because it’s very clear for everyone.”