Following Newcastle United‘s successful return to the Premier League this season, with Rafael Benitez guiding the Magpies to a finish in the top half of the league.
Subsequently, fans will be expecting to see some fresh faces come through the door at St. James’ Park, with the purpose of kicking on and potentially replicating what Sean Dyche has done at Burnley – guiding a club to European competition in their second season in the top flight of English football.
However, some disconcerting rumours have recently emerged, with Chronicle journalist Chris Waugh suggesting Rafael Benitez may have entered into an agreement with Mike Ashley that would restrict the Spanish manager to a budget of £70m over three successive transfer windows, starting in the summer of 2017.
Subsequently, should Waugh’s information be accurate, Benitez will be left with only £24m to spent on players this summer, after £46m was spent throughout the previous two transfer windows.
Speaking on the Chronicle podcast, Waugh gave fans so insight as to the agreement between Bentiez and Ashley, saying: “It’s quite a complex situation in itself because my understanding is that Newcastle, last summer when Benitez sat down with Ashley, there was an agreed budget over three transfer windows which was essentially around £70m.
“Now if they’ve already spent £46m of it, that would leave about £24m. The landscape changed dramatically from the very moment they left that room when the Neymar deal [£198m] was done a few weeks later.
“Their transfer budget was just dwarfed by whatever else went on in Europe and fees just sky rocketed.
“So Benitez’s argument is that ‘I need more than this [£70m], that was what we agreed then but you’ve had TV money across the course of this year’ and ‘going forward I need what is a competitive budget as all of our rivals are going to spend more than that’ [£70m] as a net figure.
“Newcastle are saying that ‘you need to reduce the wage budget’ which I think Benitez is now accepting he’s going to have to do, and I think the club would prefer to him to sell early and buy after, but Benitez would prefer to do it the other way around.
“Say someone like Mikel Merino, who’s future is a little bit uncertain. If Benitez knows he can get a replacement in at a similar standard he’s already got that person in, but if he lets Mikel Merino go and then can’t sign another midfielder he feels he’s going to leave himself short.
“So there’s differences in opinion there between the club and Benitez and that’s part of what’s happening with the ongoing discussions.
“They’re more positive than they were now and it looks like Benitez is going to stay – certainly over the next year – but in terms of exactly how big the transfer budget is and how it’ll be spent is still a bit of a sticking point.”