Mike Ashley accuses Rafael Benitez of putting money before Newcastle

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley insists it was 'impossible' to keep hold of Rafa Benitez – because the Spaniard was only interested in money

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley insists it was 'impossible' to keep hold of Rafa Benitez – because the Spaniard was only interested in money

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley claims Rafael Benitez "took the soft option" by quitting the Magpies and moving to China.

And on the latest takeover chapter, which this summer saw the Bin Zayed Group claim they had reached an agreement for the sale of the Premier League club, he says: "I have to assume I will stay running this football club. We've still got a couple of weeks and I'm quietly confident that we'll do some business".

"So just on technical kit sponsor alone, we could start more than £90m behind them, in one year, on one sponsorship". He had talked about what he could earn in China previously.

"I'm not disappointed in him as a manager - he did an excellent job".

Newcastle kicking off their third pre-season friendly on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

Four years on from Ashley's interview with SkySports before their game against West Ham United he still claims he can not compete with the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

"I expected the negative reaction to Rafa leaving but I was shocked by the reaction to Steve", he added. He's one of their own.

Stephenson signs one-year contract with Capitals
Though Stephenson didn't go to arbitration, Christian Djoos did, getting awarded more money than the Caps can afford. With the signing, the Capitals now have all their roster spots filled and all potential free agents under contract.

"There's been some hurtful stuff, that he was our 11th choice". Can we get another one in?

The Magpies' owner has been attempting to sell the club for a year now but is yet to receive any significant offers for the club that would allow him to step aside.

However, in the absence of any genuine bids he expects to remain there for some time.

"I've been totally out-manoeuvred, I probably shouldn't own a football club, it's ridiculous, but I'm a big boy".

He said: "There are no offers". That is my new mental state.

At the expense of the market closing on 8 August, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Sheffield United, Tottenham, West Ham, Leicester and Wolves have scratched their wallets to strengthen their squads this summer. "I will not stop that (sale), if it happens". "Looking back, though, it doesn't really matter what Rafa asked for because I think the Chinese thing was done".

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