By 90Min
February 09, 2018

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez's continued unrest under the management of Mike Ashley has not subsided any since the completion of the January transfer window, and if the London-based businessman continues to control the club, the Spaniard could well be looking for the exit door, according to reports. 

The Magpies currently find themselves just one point clear of the Premier League drop zone with 12 games to go, in the hope that the trio of winter loan arrivals at St James' Park, Chelsea's Kenedy, Leicester City's Islam Slimani and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, will prove pivotal in their survival plight. 

However, despite shoring up some heavily exposed weak spots within his squad, according to Sky Sports' Keith Downie, the former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager feels as though those above him in the Tyneside hierarchy are fighting against him, rather than for him.

"Rafa Benitez is not happy", Downie wrote in a Q&A session on the news outlet's website.

"He’s got Kenedy now, but he wanted him in the summer, not halfway through the season. Slimani, I understand, was on his list of possible striker signings for January, but he wasn’t his priority. He was fourth or fifth choice.

"I think he is satisfied to have at least got those players in, but he feels it should have been done a lot earlier rather waiting until the end of the window. He could have had them in for three or four games already. And right now, with so few games to go, every game and every point is massive.

"So he is frustrated. I think he just feels the club drag everything out and make it hard. He gave them his list of targets at the start of the month, but they didn’t get them in until deadline day.

"He had already done the checks and background work on them himself, so why not get them in earlier? There’s no doubt that the takeover had a massive impact on the January transfer window.

"Staveley promised she would spend money if she had taken over, but Ashley didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something he might not own in four months’ time.

"If the takeover doesn't happen, Newcastle will struggle to keep hold of Benitez. He has other suitors elsewhere, other clubs who know what he is capable of. He came to Newcastle wanting to improve the team, to get them into the top half of the table and compete for honours.

"He knows he is not going to do that with the current squad, and the only way he can improve that squad is if the takeover happens and there's someone at the top of the club who is willing to put money into it to progress it.

"Ashley's lack of investment means Newcastle are flirting with a third relegation in 10 years and he's relying on the managerial nous of Benitez - who he pays handsomely - to keep them up. This is essentially the same team that won promotion out of the Championship, remember. So it's a good Championship squad playing in the Premier League.

"It's also worth noting that Benitez played a big part in bringing Staveley to the table in the first place. He knows that for the club to progress in the way that he wants it to, it needs new ownership. He won't want to do another year in the Championship, and relegation would mean no takeover from Staveley."

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