Rafa awaits transfer purse as Newcastle takeover talks continue

WAITING GAME: Rafa Benitez.

MADRID-born Rafa Benitez is facing Christmas as manager of struggling Newcastle United as takeover talks with Magpies’ owner Mike Ashley continue.

“I need to know how much money we will have for January as soon as possible, we have to improve the team,” said Benitez, ahead of the January transfer window.

Benitez, the only manager in history to have won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, was always cautious about results this season.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Benitez, 57, bounced straight back into the Premier League following relegation last season.

Newcastle are facing relegation again after a woeful season, and Benitez rued: “I said it could be like this.”

Ex-Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Valencia, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli boss Benítez, who left Napoli to coach Real Madrid in 2015, joined Newcastle United in 2016.

Having failed in his attempt to save Newcastle from relegation, Benítez remained loyal, taking the club back into the Premier League, when winning the Championship last season.

Ashley who invested £134.4m in buying Newcastle a decade ago and has since put £129m into the club, reportedly turned down Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners Ltd’s initial formal offer of nearly £300m.

PCP Capital Partners has access to around £28bn of Middle Eastern wealth.

A facilitator of football takeovers Staveley helped broker the agreement, which saw Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan take control of Manchester City in 2009.

Benitez who has met Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley to discuss the transfer budget, said: “We’re monitoring and talking to players.” 

Newcastle play West Ham on December 23; Manchester City on December 27; Brighton on December 30 and Stoke on New Year’s Day, fixtures deemed crucial.

“I can only concentrate on preparing the team. We know what we need, can we get that? I don’t know,” said Benítez, linked to signing Liverpool’s Danny Ings and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw on loan.

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