'You'll like this ... not a lot, but you'll like it': Newcastle United's financial results – and what they mean for Rafa Benitez

"You'll like this ... not a lot, but you'll like it!"

By Miles Starforth
Friday, 19th April 2019, 10:32 am
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 10:39 am
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

That, of course, was the late Paul Daniels' catchphrase.

And that, it seems, will be the gist of the response to Rafa Benitez when he eventually gets the answers he's been waiting for at Newcastle United.

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Mike Ashley readies £100m transfer budget for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United

Yes, there will be money to spend. But no, it won't be quite enough to take the club where Benitez feels it should be.

So does Benitez, out of contract this summer, stick or twist?

Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle posted a profit of £18.6million for the club's first season back in the Premier League.

"We all want to see the club improve and be competitive at every level, and in every competition," said Charnley in a statement.

"We are convinced that the best route to achieving this is to do so sustainably, spending on young development players and adding high quality to the first team squad each season – players that can really make a difference and improve the team – without risking the financial health and stability of the club."

Of course, owner Mike Ashley – who forced Benitez to sell to buy last summer – has previously risked the financial health and stability of the club by under-investing.

A four-window budget of £100million has been mooted. This would be supplemented by money from outgoing transfers and an £11million underspend carried forward.

That's an improvement on the £70million, two-year budget Benitez agreed two years ago, but not a massive improvement.

But it's not just about money. Benitez also wants autonomy. He wants a budget. And he wants to be able to spend it as he sees fit. For example, United's manager wants the freedom to sign a 29-year-old, like Salomon Rondon, if he wants to.

Charnley wouldn't sanction a permanent move for Rondon last summer, and the striker eventually arrived on loan from West Bromwich Albion, who took Dwight Gayle.

Benitez also wants money invested in the training ground and Academy, though, it seems, any sizeable investment in either would have to come at the expense of the transfer budget.

Ashley – who took back £33million in short-term loans in the last financial year – won't dip any deeper into his own pockets to improve the squad, facilities and Academy at the club.

It's as a case of as you were at St James's Park.

And that may not be enough to persuade Benitez that he can compete higher up the table with United.