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Edwards: Ashley used Joelinton as Benitez bargaining chip

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Image for Edwards: Ashley used Joelinton as Benitez bargaining chip

Newcastle United owner used Magpies number nine as a ‘bargaining chip’ in talks with former boss Rafael Benitez last summer, according to journalist Luke Edwards.

The Spaniard left the north east giants at the expiration of his after failing to make headway in talks with Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley, and Edwards has now shed some light on the Brazilian’s role in those talks.

“No wonder Rafa Benitez rejected the chance to sign him in last year, no wonder the wily old Spaniard was unimpressed when owner tried to use the arrival of the Brazilian as a bargaining chip in those doomed-to-fail new talks in the summer,” he wrote on the Daily Telegraph website.

“Of course, Rafa knew this would happen… except that is not entirely true. Benitez rated and felt like he would be a good signing, he just did not want to spend £40m because he wanted to spread the money out more, to use it to bolster other positions rather than just centre-forward.”

OPINION

It seems that what Edwards is saying is that Benitez wouldn’t have minded signing Joelinton, he just preferred to bring Salomon Rondon in permanently for less than £40million, and to then use the remaining money to strengthen other areas of the Newcastle squad. For Ashley, though, who had set his sights on his shiny new toy, that was never going to wash. It’s not that Benitez thought was a bad player, per say, just that he didn’t want to spend £40million on him. The wisdom of that particular stance has been borne out so far this season. It appears that Ashley brought Joelinton into Benitez’s talks thinking his impending arrival would entice the former Liverpool chief to sign a new contract. In actuality, it had the opposite effect. That simply speaks to the mind-numbing lack of tact possessed by Mr Ashley. Even after three and a half years, he didn’t know who he was dealing with.

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