Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has indicated that he cannot compete with clubs like Manchester City in relation to transfers.
This clearly means that manager Rafa Benitez will not have enough funds to spend this summer which closes on August 31.
The ex Real Madrid boss expressed his frustration at the club’s transfer dealings despite assurances from Ashley that he can spend every penny the club generates from returning to the Premier League this season.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, the owner indicated that he does not have the financial power to be able to compete with clubs like Manchester City.
He said; “If you said to me I am wealthy – in theory I am a billionaire or maybe a multi-billionaire- but in reality my wealth is all in Sports Direct shares”.
“As I said the other day, it is like wallpaper. I don’t have that cash in the bank so I don’t have the ability to write a cheque for £200m. I don’t have it, it’s simple”, he lamented.
The Newcastle United owner added; “I would have to sell the Sports Direct shares to fund that. The way it is sometimes portrayed in wealth terms is as though it is in the bank, it’s not”.
He further added; “And I have to make it clear that I am nowhere near wealthy enough in football now to compete with the likes of Man City and others where it is a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries. I cannot and I will not”.
He also indicated that he would have wished to give Rafa Benitez more funds to strengthen his squad ahead of the season as they seek to retain their status in the Premier League but at present must spend within Newcastle’s means.
“Not enough, it’s very simple, it’s not enough. Rafa knows that and it’s not a secret”, Mike Ashley said when asked if Benitez has enough funds currently to spend this summer.
“Every penny the club generates he can have, but it won’t generate enough. Newcastle United does not have a £40m-a-year stadium naming rights deal”, he added.
“I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think ‘that’s great Rafa is getting £150m in the morning’- he’s not”.
“Rafa has [managing director] Lee Charnley’s help. And Lee Charnley answers to Rafa and not the other way around, let’s make that crystal clear. Rafa makes all the final decisions on players out and players in but he has to do it with the money the club has”, the owner concluded.
Newcastle United will take on Tottenham Hotspurs at the St. James Park on Sunday starting 12:30GMT as they open their account in their return to the PL.