Former Newcastle United striker Malcolm Macdonald has claimed that the club will ‘probably’ be relegated next season if manager Rafa Benitez decides to walk away.
The Spaniard is locked in talks with the club over a new deal, with his future seemingly dependent on the financial backing that the club promise him this summer.
Former Magpies forward Macdonald has now claimed that Benitez’s future is the most important thing to the club, and grimly warned that the club will be in massive trouble if he leaves in the coming weeks.
In a column for the Chronicle, Macdonald said: “Now the dust has settled on an immensely satisfying season let us turn to the future of Rafa Benitez. This is the most crucial thing of all. Mike Ashley has said that everything Rafa generates he can have. He’s said that before. What exactly does it mean?
“United finished with an overall payment from the PL of £125.9m after finishing 10th. Well, I reckon Rafa generated that because without him United would have probably been relegated. So is Ashley going to give Benitez £100m?
“If I were him I would ask to meet the manager and throw down two things – the cheque and the gauntlet. I would say “if you pick up that cheque can you get us into Europe?” I believe the answer would be ‘yes’. The alternative question of course is: if Rafa goes will United be relegated? The answer would be ‘probably’.”
Losing Benitez this summer would be disastrous for Newcastle United. The club are on the verge of something special with the Spaniard in charge, and for that to be thrown away by Ashley not guaranteeing him backing in the summer window would be criminal and totally self-destructive. A tenth-placed finish this season looked so far out of reach until a burst of form towards the end of the campaign, and that momentum will be totally wrecked should Benitez walk away. Ashley surely realises this, but it remains to be seen whether he will put his money where his mouth is and back Benitez. Macdonald is right in warning that Benitez’s departure could have catastrophic consequences, although relegation may be slightly exaggerating the situation. Anyhow, the next move for the club is clear, and fans will be waiting with bated breath to hear whether Benitez puts pen to paper on that all-important new deal.