Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez did not meet with either Mike Ashley or Lee Charnley during his visit to the club’s training ground on Monday, according to the Northern Echo.
The newspaper claims that the Spaniard didn’t converse with the Magpies’ owner or managing director, with his trip to Benton obviously being due to something else.
Messrs Ashley and Charnley are still insisting that they won’t be drawn into further talks with the Spaniard, who has had their final contract offer in his possession since the middle of May.
Benitez caused a shock amongst the Newcastle fanbase on Monday when he returned to the team’s Benton training ground out of the blue, but it seems he wasn’t there for further contract discussions.
This is a shame, isn’t it? It would have been fantastic for the Newcastle fans to hear that Benitez’s return to the north east was due to him having further – and final – contract talks with Ashley and Charnley. However, it’s clear that both parties are stubbornly sticking to their respective stances. Benitez wants more assurances from the club in terms of recruitment, ambition and development to the club’s academy and training ground. However, Ashley and Charnley clearly feel that they have put their best offer on the table and are now simply waiting for the Spaniard to respond. Benitez has had that contract offer sitting on his desk in the Wirral for several weeks now, but he still hasn’t put pen to paper. That’s concerning, of course, but you wonder whether it’s down to the uncertainty surrounding the club’s future. With talk of a takeover continuing to gather pace, maybe Benitez doesn’t think now is the time to commit himself to the club.