The newspaper says that in April, the Spaniard is said to have asked a friend: “I can’t stay, can I?”, after managing director Lee Charnley reportedly revealed that the Magpies’ summer budget would be set at around £60million and could only be bolstered by player sales.
It is well-known by now that Mike Ashley does not give total financial autonomy to whoever is in charge at St James’ Park, and if Benitez really did ask this question, it shows that he must have been sick of what the club were offering him.
It is no surprise, really. This Newcastle team needs investment if it is to move forward in the next couple of seasons – rather than just live within its means – and although £60million is a decent amount of money, it was surely not what Benitez was after.
The Spaniard knew that he would need a lot more if he was to help Newcastle progress, and the fact that he wasn’t offered that must have definitely done for him.
Going forward, it is a very worrying precedent for whoever comes in at St James’ Park. Benitez was clearly aggrieved that he did not get the financial assurances he desired, so whoever comes in must have had experience of working on such a shoestring budget.
The money in the Premier League is rising season by season, and it seems that as every year goes by, Newcastle are the one club that remain stoic in their transfer policy, always willing to spend the minimum and hope it will be enough.
That is the reality the next Newcastle boss faces, and it is one they must be prepared to accept, or face a potentially similar fate to Benitez.