Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle United board are stuck in stalemate, with the club reportedly demanding he signs a new contract before they'll release transfer funds, and the manager refusing to do so until he receives assurances over summer targets.
Newcastle's window has been quiet thus far. South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung joining on a free, and former loanees Martin Dubravka and Kenedy have returned to the club.
Owner Mike Ashley is now reportedly restricting Benitez to loans and free signings, though the club have made advances on relegated West Brom forward Salomon Rondon in recent weeks.
The constant tug of war over transfer funds has led to speculation that Benitez, whose current deal expires in May 2019, could walk from the club.
Frustrating windows are nothing new for the manager, who has butted heads with Ashley several times since joining in 2016, without ever truly receiving the financial backing he'd like. Now, Benitez finds himself calling for the owner to match his ambitions once again, though he may be screaming into the abyss.
Rafa's tenure has had a transformative, galvanising impact on Newcastle's support, but does he have the patience for another bout of jostling with Ashley? The coming weeks will be telling, but it'd be a disaster if the Magpies' greatest asset walked before the new season.
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