It’s time for Mike Ashley to stop playing the Newcastle United waiting game

It’s set to be another tedious off season for fans of Newcastle United but it’s now time for Mike Ashley to put his best foot forward and do it sooner rather than later.

Having secured Premier League safety for yet another season, focus is now directed towards controversial owner Mike Ashley and the future of United manager Rafa Benitez.

While other clubs seem to be busy identifying transfer targets for another tough season, Newcastle United always seem to be left floundering with late signings and playing catch up from the get go.

Why? Well, if you’re to believe Mike Ashley it’s because he’s selling the club. *yawn*. Now where have we heard that before?

It’s likely more to do with Ashley wanting to save on a few weeks worth of hefty wages on new signings and as a result, players don’t seem to be getting through the door until late on when the season is already in flow.

With no advantage of a summer pre-season tour with the ideology of a new manager, team cohesion is non existent thanks to late recruitment.

Why should Ashley be forced to do anything differently this time around? Well, it now seems that many punters who fork out for season tickets are just about fed up with a lack of perceived ambition from the owner and a quick look of the Newcastle United Twitter population would suggest that the message is loud and clear: #IfRafaGoesWeGo

Since Newcastle United secured their Premier League status – such is the height of expectations ‘Toon Army’ fans have been long relegated to – talks of Ashley renewing Rafa Benitez’s contract have been thrown back and forth with no further developments at the time of writing.

Rafa wants to stay. He loves the city. So what is Ashley waiting for?

That’s a question only the big man himself can answer but it seems absolutely pointless to drag a world class manager and a passionate fanbase through the wringer as a supposed power trip? Why risk fans boycotting and not renewing season tickets? Whatever about his morals, Ashley doesn’t seem like a stupid guy and it’s time to act now.

Rafa Benitez isn’t the only one involved in Ashley’s immediate plans but striker Solomon Rondon currently on loan from West Bromwich Albion is already a player that Benitez has identified as a potential permanent signing. The 29 year-old netted 11 times in the Premier League for the Magpies making 32 appearances for the club.

Seems like an obvious signing to make right? Well, for most clubs it would be.

Now that Albion remain in the Championship after defeat to Aston Villa in the Championship Play Offs, it now means that Rondon’s services can be now achieved on a permanent basis for £16.5 million as per his release clause.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of money based on today’s climate but this is Mike Ashley whose nonsensical policy of purchasing players for significant sell on value means that Rondon’s age disqualifies him as a permanent target.

Let’s just remind ourselves of this amazing policy that got the team relegated not once, but twice from the Premier League.

Obviously there are other factors as to why the team achieved two relegations but most of them can be sourced directly back to Ashley and there’s still an ounce of redemption for him in there somewhere if he decides to give the manager and fans what they want.

Striking isn’t the only area United need recruitments in, but it’ll be a good start if Ashley splashes the cash and gets Rafa to stay with concrete assurances.

It needs to be done swiftly as other clubs including Wolves and West Ham sniff around Rondon’s release clause fee.

We’ve heard Ashley claim Rafa can have all and sundry but it’s time to stop the deceit and allow the club to thrive with a manager whose ambition can match that of the fanbase.

Over to you Mike. You know what to do.

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Shane Saunders

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