By 90Min
January 18, 2018

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given has emphasised the importance of the Magpies' potential takeover as the prolonged negotiations could ostracise manager Rafa Benitez, who is desperate for reinforcements in the January transfer window. 

Reports earlier in the week stated Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has walked away from discussions with Amanda Staveley and her company PCP Partners as his £300m valuation was not adequately matched, and although the club remains up for sale, Given is concerned with the constant speculation which has left fans in the dark.

With the club currently positioned in 15th place in the table, just three points above the relegation zone, it is no secret that January additions are desperately needed to ensure the club stay in the Premier League - an investment Ashley is seemingly not prepared to sanction. 

On the on-going saga at the club, Given told “What happens at Newcastle no-one seems to know, it's speculation, we want the club to be sold to move on and these new people come in and say 'we’ve got ‘X’ amount to spend'.

"But the days are going by and the windows closing in a few weeks, time is almost out. Rafa himself said they need strengthening and if they don’t it could be a long, difficult season for them to stay in the Premier League.”

The long drawn out negotiations have therefore started to creep their way on-the-field as a drop in results have come as a result of a lack of squad depth required to compete in the top flight.

However, Given remains hopeful that a takeover will come to fruition which will ensure Benitez has the appetite to continue his reign at the club and take Newcastle back towards the top of the table.

He added: “Reading between the lines I think he will be [sticking around]. I think if this take over happens, he’s supposedly got to have a relationship with the new owners coming in. I think he was involved with the Liverpool take-over, when that happened. 

"I think he’s a big part of the Newcastle future and so hopefully the take-over happens and Rafa stays and he gets investment to get Newcastle up challenging in the top part of the league.”

While off-field matters continue to dominate the headlines, it does not get much easier on the field for the club as they face the daunting trip to the Etihad to face league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

On the game, Given added: “I think with Rafa Benitez, the approach will be the exact same, I think they’ll come to the Etihad and they’ll sit very deep, play very defensively and hope that they can hit them on the break. I do feel they’re not going to change their game plan. 

"From City’s point of view, they won’t change their game plan either, they’ll want to score goals, they’ll want to put the Liverpool defeat behind them and the only way to do that is get a victory from Newcastle. 

"On paper you think it’ll be a home victory but knowing Rafa Benitez and how well he sets them up, they’ll come here and sit deep and expect Manchester City to break that defensive block down.”

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