Mike Ashley reveals Rafa Benitez’s refusal to sign new contract could have cost the club signing Joelinton


Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has revealed to Sportsmail that erstwhile manager Rafa Benitez’s refusal to commit to a long-term contract could have cost the club landing record-signing Joelinton.

The Brazilian arrived from Hoffenheim for £40 million last week, but he had been on the Magpies’ radar since January.

While the Bundesliga outfit wouldn’t sell him in the winter transfer window, they told Newcastle in February they could get him early for £40 million.

However, Benitez would not give the go-ahead even though the club had the fee and personal terms agreed, and the striker had passed a medical.

The Spaniard insisted the club sort out his future first, and was also adamant that Joelinton was overvalued.

Ashley offered to part with his own personal £23 million just to get the manager to approve a move, but he refused nonetheless.

The Newcastle owner revealed that Benitez asked for a 50% pay increase in order to sign a contract extension, and he was determined to move to China once the season ended as he knew the demand couldn’t be met.

The former Liverpool boss also wanted to hold on to Salomon Rondon and make his loan deal a permanent one, and Ashley was seemingly ready to meet West Bromwich Albion’s demands as long as Joelinton was also brought in.

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