Sunday 22 April 2018

Rafael Benitez says Newcastle takeover setback ‘doesn’t change anything’ for him

The manager’s stay on Tyneside has been the subject of speculation.

Stoke City v Newcastle United – Premier League – bet365 Stadium
Stoke City v Newcastle United – Premier League – bet365 Stadium

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez insists he is not even thinking about his own future after the apparent collapse of Amanda Staveley’s takeover bid.

The Yorkshire businesswoman placed Benitez at the centre of her plans for the club.

She remains adamant her offer is still on the table, but Spaniard Benitez has revealed he was told “two or three weeks” ago by current owner Mike Ashley that the deal was off.

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Amanda Staveley

News of the breakdown sparked concern among fans that the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss could walk away from St James’ Park, but he was coy when asked about his position ahead of Saturday’s trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

He said: “There has been a lot of speculation about the takeover, but officially he told me it was not going to happen. Fair enough, I have no problem.

“My future is Manchester City now, and after Chelsea and then Burnley and Crystal Palace and so on.

“That doesn’t change anything. I’m not thinking every day about whether this will happen or not, it doesn’t change anything.”

Staveley is said to have been surprised by Ashley’s decision to bring an end to negotiations on Tuesday evening, but Benitez’s admission that he knew weeks ago has at least allowed him get on with the business of trying to strengthen his squad.

The current owner has sanctioned a limited recruitment drive.

Benitez said: “They told me, ‘Give us a list of names’, and we are working on that. It was really positive, the message, so we will see where we are at the end of the window.

“We are working on it. I don’t know if anything is closer, but we have the green light to bring players in.

“That is positive, that there will be some money spent this month. It will be a red light when we get to the end of the transfer window, but it is a green light now.”

Press Association

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