Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is prepared to risk further discontent between himself and manager Rafa Benitez, as the controversial figure looks to block a permanent move for striker Salomon Rondon.
Rondon arrived at St James' Park from West Brom on a season-long loan in the summer and has become a fan favourite for the Magpies, contributing nine goals and five assists in Newcastle's relegation battle.
Benitez has been hoping to complete the permanent signing of the Venezuelan this summer for a fee of £16.5m, but that deal now hangs in the balance with Ashley only looking to spend big on younger players.
The two men have constantly found themselves at odds over Newcastle's transfer business but came to something of an understanding when Ashley spent a club record £21m to sign Miguel Amiron in January.
Now, however, the precarious relationship between Ashley and Benitez is threatening to collapse as the disagreement over Rondon's future rages on, according to the Daily Star.
Rondon turns 30 in September and Ashley is only willing to invest in players who are likely to increase in value, leaving a move for the striker in doubt, despite his success on Tyneside this season.
Salomon Rondon is the best number 9 we’ve had in a long long time, needs to be made permanent 🇻🇪— Ryan. (@RyanNUFC_7) March 16, 2019
The transfer tussle comes at a worrying time for Newcastle supporters as the club looks to tie down Benitez to a long-term contract.
The Spanish manager has threatened to leave over his perceived lack of control in the transfer market, and not signing Rondon on a full basis will only incite Benitez further.
Newcastle will have to complete any deal for the striker quickly with other Premier League clubs including Everton prepared to swoop in.
Three wins in their last five matches has catapulted Newcastle to 13th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone, but there is still plenty of work to do in order to ensure Premier League safety with seven matches left to play.