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Rafael Benítez sets Newcastle owner Mike Ashley deadline to strengthen squad

first_imgShare on Facebook Although money seems certain to be limited, Newcastle’s manager is quietly optimistic about completing a handful of transfers, including two domestic loans, one of whom will almost certainly be the Chelsea left winger Kenedy.In an attempt to accelerate matters, Benítez has imposed a deadline of 20 January, by which time he expects all transfer business to have been completed. “If you go to 30 January, it’s always very difficult to do business,” he said. “You have to get players in as soon as possible.“But we [he and Ashley] have been in contact and we are progressing. I don’t know if it’ll be exactly as I’m expecting but I have confidence that we can do something that will be important for the team. We have to improve the team to be sure we can stay in the Premier League.”Nonetheless Benítez has not been told his precise budget. “It’s a different approach,” he said, diplomatically. “But I have confidence that Mike Ashley will deliver what we need to stay in the Premier League before 20 January. By 15 or 20 January we have to have everything done.”Newcastle last won a league game on 21 October – at home against Crystal Palace – but, outwardly at least, their manager remains calm and broadly optimistic. “When I came here originally, it was because I felt this could be one of the top clubs in England,” he said. “I still believe this is a top club that can compete at the top of the Premier League but, first, we have to stay in this league.” Mesut Özil’s moment of brilliance carries lethargic Arsenal past Newcastle Mike Ashley Rafael Benítez hopes Mike Ashley is “clever enough” to appreciate the urgent need to reinforce Newcastle United’s struggling team with some new players next month.After taking only one point from their last nine games, Newcastle have dropped into the relegation zone, and Benítez feels it is imperative that the owner intervenes before it becomes too late to avoid plunging back into the Championship.“I hope that Mike Ashley is clever enough to understand,” he said. “What I say is it’s his team, his business, he wants the best for the team.”Newcastle’s manager – who takes his players to West Ham United on Saturday – has, unusually, been in direct telephone contact with Ashley, with the pair discussing transfers. Despite recent results, Benítez’s position is not under threat and he has told the sports retail tycoon the bad run is a direct “consequence” of Ashley’s failure to properly strengthen the squad last summer.“We’ve been progressing and talking about names and the way to move forward,” said the Spaniard. “We’re going slowly but I think we can have some good news in the next couple of weeks.”Ashley’s hopes of selling Newcastle to Amanda Staveley, the Dubai-based financier, and her investors for a decent price hinge on the club being on course to retain Premier League status.With lawyers still negotiating a takeover, Benítez is keen to remind the current owner an awful lot depends on improving the squad. Newcastle United Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Rafael Benítez news Share on WhatsApp Read more Reuse this content Share via Email Topics Share on Messengerlast_img read more