Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United MUST be ready to act quickly in the transfer market – if he agrees to stay on at St James’s Park.
Benitez, out of contract in the summer, is set for end-of-season talks with Ashley over his and the club’s future.
Newcastle, 14th in the league, ended their home campaign with a 3-2 win over Liverpool on Saturday. Divock Origi scored a late winner for Jurgen Klopp’s side after United twice came from behind.
Benitez is looking for more investment and more autonomy in the transfer market.
“This is a massive club,” said Benitez. “Everybody wants to see it competing, and it’s so clear the potential is here.
“You don’t have to spend £200million. It’s a question of doing things at the right moment and the right way.
“If we can go first with the right money, then you can convince a player. But if a player is offered double the money, he’ll go there.
“We have to do things quicker – we have to do things right – and then we can compete with some of the other teams.
“The problem is that some of them spend £150-200million and they are seventh to 13th, and they pay £100,000 a week. That’s what we need to understand.”
On wages, Benitez added: “If you have better tools, then maybe you can go two positions higher – two positions.
“You can compete – seventh to 15th. If you have a better squad you can be more consistent. We lost (Miguel) Almiron, it’s very difficult. This (Liverpool) team can play without (Mohamed) Salah.”
Benitez lapped the pitch with his players after the game. Asked if he felt that it would be his last at the stadium as United manager, Benitez said: “No, I’m feeling that today is a good day in terms of what we did on the pitch, very emotional in what you could see around. That’s it.
“I’m not negative, or too positive, in terms of the conversations on the future. I think that the fans, they want me to stay. We have to be sure we have the tools to compete at the level we want to compete.
“We’re in a good mood. Hopefully, it will be positive.”