Billionaire Toon owner has called time on the club’s transfer window spending, with just £31.4million spent so far
MIKE ASHLEY has told Rafa Benitez he does not have the cash to allow Newcastle to compete with the Premier League big boys.
Toon boss Benitez has admitted he is “not happy” with this summer’s transfer business, with the club having only spent £31.4million on five signings.
But owner Ashley has given a rare interview in which he insists he simply does not have the financial muscle to give Benitez everything he wants.
NOT PICKED YOUR FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM YET? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Asked what Rafa’s transfer budget is, the Sports Direct tycoon told Sky Sports: “Not enough. Very simple, it’s not enough.
“And Rafa knows that. It’s not enough, it’s not a secret.
“Every penny the club generates, he can have, but it won’t generate enough.
“It’s Newcastle United. It doesn’t have a £40m a year stadium naming rights deal, it doesn’t.
“So I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think, ‘That’s great, Rafa’s getting £150m in the morning’. He’s not.”
Ashley insists Benitez has full control of transfers, and not managing director Lee Charnley.
But he has reminded the Spaniard that he must work in the financial parameters that have been set.
Ashley said: “Lee Charnley answers to Rafa, not the other way around.
“Rafa makes all the final decisions on the players out and the players in.
“But he has to do it with the money the club has.”
According to The Sunday Times Rich List 2017, Ashley is worth £2.16billion.
But he explained: “If you say to me, ‘I’m wealthy’ well, OK, in theory I’m a whatever, a billionaire, maybe even a multi-billionaire.
“But in reality my wealth is in Sports Direct shares which, as I said the other week, are like wallpaper.
“I don’t have that cash in the bank, so I don’t have that ability to right a cheque for £200m.
“I don’t have it. It’s very simple, it’s not there. I’d have to sell Sports Direct shares to fund that.
“So people outside of football looking in and the way sometimes it’s portrayed, is that those sort of wealth terms are in the bank – they’re not.
“I’ve got to make it crystal clear that I am nowhere near wealthy enough in football now to compete with the likes of Manchester City etc and not just Man City.
“Basically, it’s a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries. I cannot and I will not.”
Keep up to date with ALL the football news, gossip, transfers and goals on our club page plus fixtures, results and live match commentary.
Have you signed up to play fantasy football yet?
If the answer is no you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.
Because the Dream Team game – the UK’s biggest fantasy football game – is back and better than ever this season.
You’ve got a £50m budget to pick 11 players, with all the biggest new signings ready and raring to go ahead of a mouthwatering new Premier League campaign.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up to play now!