Louise Taylor on 24 November 2017
Rafael Benítez has warned Newcastle United supporters that, even if Amanda Staveley’s mooted takeover happens, he will have limited money to spend in January but he reassured them he has no plans to quit as manager should Mike Ashley remain in charge.
Although Newcastle’s owner is yet to accept a formal bid for the club lodged by Staveley’s Dubai-based PCP Capital Partners, negotiations are continuing and it remains just about feasible for a buyout to be completed by the new year.
“If we have a change in ownership, we know we’ll not have too much money [in January] ,” said Benítez who face Watford at home on Saturday after three successive defeats. “The financial fair play rules don’t allow you to spend massive money. If it’s a new ownership or if it’s the same one, the figures could be very similar. It won’t be a massive difference.”
It is understood FFP regulations would permit Benítez to invest around £30m in January, although increased income would dictate that Newcastle could be free to spend considerably more next summer. The fear among fans is that, should Staveley’s bid collapse and Ashley remain in control, such a scenario may become academic.
Yet Newcastle’s manager did not demur when asked whether he could envisage being at St James’ Park this time next year were the takeover to fail. “I think so,” he said. “I’m quite happy with this group of players. They’re improving, they’re learning. I don’t see any difficulty. I was not very happy in August [when Ashley strictly rationed his transfer plans]. But still this [club] is a chance for me.
“My disappointment last summer was because I was trying to finish in the top 10 this season. Now it’s about being sure that we stay in the Premier League. It’s a challenge for me but I have the belief this group of players can stay in the Premier League. Then, when we stay up we can make the next step and improve the team because we’ll have more money – but before you can run you have to walk.”