Rafa turns screw on Ashley after rejecting China offers

Date published: Tuesday 18th July 2017 9:39

Rafael Benitez has reminded Mike Ashley to keep his promises over funds with Newcastle floundering in the transfer market.

The Magpies have struggled to significantly strengthen their squad ahead of their return to the Premier League, with only Florian Lejeune recruited and a permanent deal for Christian Atsu competed so far.

Benitez has seen the club miss out on targets such as Willy Caballero and Tammy Abraham, and the manager has given the owner a nudge to keep his word after Ashley convinced the Spaniard to stay at St James’ Park based on promises of having cash available to spend on new players.

“When I had the meeting with Mike Ashley I was confident that we have the money available and the wages,” said Benitez at the team’s Carton House training base here in County Kildare.

“Everything is in place to move forward. Hopefully Mike can keep his word and we can do what we want to do.

“In January we didn’t sign players but we had £30m ready for the future, so now we are in a situation where we are going slowly but I still have confidence that everything will be fine after my meeting with Mike.

“He said that he would give us every last penny so hopefully he will do it and I’m confident that he will.”

Benitez was linked with a move away from Tyneside after guiding the club back to the Premier League, with the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss receiving lucrative offers from abroad.

“I could go away and make some money,” the manager reminded Ashley. “If you go to China you can make a lot of money.

“The priority for me was to stay. I decided to stay because of the fans, the club, the possibilities for the future and to stay in England close to my family.

“Then the meeting was crucial to convince me to stay. Mike told me ‘We have this money, it is available, it’s OK’, so, fine, we were happy with that.”

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