Date: 10th August 2018 at 3:15pm
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OPINION

It is fair to say that there are few figures who are less popular among the fans at Newcastle United than owner Mike Ashley, and the summer’s lack of investment will not have helped his cause one bit.

The Magpies might have made a handful of signings but once again manager Rafael Benitez was left scrambling to source bargain buys instead of targeting quality recruits, and many will credit his ability to have found such affordable deals as the likes of Fabian Schar and Ki Sung-Yeung.

However, it does not bode well for the club moving forward, and the fact that Benitez is heading into his final year of the three-year contract leaves the Toon Army incredibly nervous about his potential departure next summer.

Contract talks were confirmed to have been held earlier in the summer but the Spaniard insisted his focus was on transfers, but with the window now out of the way, he has once again delivered a statement on his future.

He told the Chronicle: “The time to talk about that (transfers) was before, now we have finished the window, we start the Premier League, and that (contract talks) comes later.

“If we have to talk about a possible extension we will talk. Now we have to concentrate on the game.”

Benitez is a true professional, putting the club ahead of his own future, but fans, as well as the players, will be desperate to see him pen a new deal sooner rather than later, and Ashley can temper the ire on Tyneside with a simple signature on the dotted line.

With the window over, the focus is now on the pitch, but really Ashley’s attentions should lie on the negotiating table.