It's been the underlying issue that has dominated yet another Newcastle United pre-season discussion: will Rafa Benitez sign a new contract with the club?

This time, though, there's a difference. A big one.

It's no longer a will he, won't he situation. Benitez has been fair to the Newcastle supporters, whose loyalty he is appreciative and respectful towards, and he's laid his cards out on the table very publicly.


He will sign, should he have his necessary assurances met.

Benitez is a world-class manager. He sees Newcastle as a project. He believes in the success he can achieve with the club, but he needs the backing of the owner to do so.


That's where his current situation comes into it. He's presented owner Mike Ashley with a simple, and honest, ultimatum.

He will remain at the helm beyond his 12 months, so long as the owner dips into the pockets and produces a signing - a gesture of goodwill and intentions going forwards.

Too many times now, Benitez has been stung by broken promises from Ashley. It infuriates the manager, and saddens the fans to see how the club is being operated.


To Ashley it's a business. To everyone else, it's so much more. It's part of their livelihoods.

Yes, Benitez is calling for the higher-ups at the club to dig deep and break the club's transfer record. On paper, that sounds like quite the demand.

But, it should be remembered, Newcastle's transfer record stands at £16m - not £60m!


The club set that record for Michael Owen back in 2005. Every other Premier League club has broken their records in the last two years.

All Benitez is asking is that he has the backing to sign real, quality players, rather than scrounging through the Premier League bargain bin.


Yes, he's a quality manager and he has a brilliant team that can unearth some hidden diamonds. Martin Dubravka proved that.

But he's not a miracle worker.

One success story doesn't justify a dozen failures. Newcastle should have learnt that lesson when they tried to monopolise the French transfer market a few seasons back - too many failures for only a few successes.


When Benitez has had the ability to target players of slightly higher transfer values, he's come up with success. Kenedy from Chelsea was a revelation last season.

The Brazilian looks set to return to Newcastle once again too, but inexplicably on another season-long loan.


Why? That's what most fans on Tyneside have been left asking.

He would have been the perfect candidate for Ashley to appease Benitez's demands. Chelsea were mooting £20m as an asking price, and he's proven to be a success already in black and white under Benitez.

It could have been the perfect win-win solution, and would have seen Newcastle land a great talent, Benitez sign on for longer than he currently has as well as likely push Newcastle further up the table (earning Ashley more money, let's not forget) as the Magpies could focus on bringing other loans in.


Benitez isn't asking for the world from Ashley. He's just asking the Newcastle owner to be proactive.

The Spaniard believes he can bring success, and with it financial reward, to Newcastle, but he needs at least some modicum of bankrolling by the owner.

Words are lovely, but actions are what are meaningful. That's all Benitez wants to see before he commits himself further to his project - something tangible, rather than spoken promises that can later be broken.

Every Newcastle fan would implore Ashley to do so, or risk losing the best signing the club has had for many, many years.