Rafa Benitez's future: What's going on at Newcastle United?
It’s four weeks since Rafa Benitez sat down to talk about Newcastle United’s final game of the season.
Four long weeks.
Benitez spoke a little about the club’s game against Fulham at Craven Cottage, but faced more questions on his future at St James’s Park.
Benitez, out of contract on June 30, said a lot, but, typically, gave little away.
“We have to wait,” said United’s manager. “If we have any information, we will let you know.”
And that’s the thing, there’s been no information from the club since Benitez met Ashley for talks in London last month.
Benitez, we know, feels that he has 10 years left in management – and we also know that he’d like to spend them at Newcastle. But the 59-year-old is yet to commit to the for-sale club, the subject of interest from the Bin Zayed Group. So what’s going on?
Fans, understandably, are anxious about Benitez, but there is, at least, some hope that Ashley will sell up soon.
It’s almost a month since Newcastle ended their campaign with a convincing 4-0 win over Fulham.
Benitez, we know, won’t let his heart rule his head this summer, and he’s taking time to consider the offer made by Ashley.
Amid talk of the length of contract Benitez is prepared to sign at United, I was reminded of an interview with him last July at the annual Foundation 1892 Cup at the club’s Academy.
Then, as now, his contract was an issue. Ashley was refusing to back Benitez unless he signed a new deal. Benitez, understandably, refused to sign, and was forced to sell to buy in the summer.
Benitez, after watching the tournament’s finals, broke his silence after a summer of speculation.
“I would like to stay here five years, 10 years, if it’s possible, because I can see the potential, the fans, the city – everybody pushing in the same direction,” said Benitez. “But we have to do things like I imagine has to be done in a football club.”
Things weren’t done that way, and Benitez knows things won't be as long as Ashley remains owner.
Benitez, it’s clear, has a lot to consider before making a decision.