Former Newcastle United striker Mick Quinn has once again urged Magpies owner Mike Ashley to sign manager Rafael Benitez up as soon as possible.
The Spaniard is in the final few months of his current contract, with no resolution yet in sight, and Quinn believes it’s imperative that Ashley ties him down.
“I will say it again, Mike Ashley needs to pull his finger out and get that man signed,” he wrote in his column for The Chronicle. “Forget any players – he is the most important signing for Newcastle next season. He’s that comfort blanket which the fans love and have instant respect for as a world-class manager.
“It all hinges on that. I’ll be biting my nails myself after the clowns we have had in charge compared to him. The club’s been a mess and the least they can do is reward him for the job he’s done with the budgets he’s had to work with. Get him signed ASAP!
“Rafa can take them to top eight or European football next season – I have no doubt about that. The basis of the squad for next season is there – they just need to strengthen and then they’re away.”
Quinn is absolutely right, there is no signing Newcastle can make this summer that will be as important as keeping the manager around. Benitez is the key to everything positive that is going on at St James’ Park at this moment in time, so to lose him would be a seriously heavy blow to the club. As for Quinn’s claims that the Magpies could get European football next season, that seems slightly far-fetched. Newcastle are a good side with a world class manager, but do they have the consistency to finish in the top seven or win a cup that would secure European football? At this point it’s doubtful and it’s unlikely that Benitez would be given the money to get them there next season. Teams like Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United are only going to invest further in their teams, barring the way to European football to teams like Newcastle. So while Quinn is correct on Benitez, he might be getting ahead of himself with his European football comment.