Rafael Benitez: I was aware Newcastle takeover was off

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has admitted Mike Ashley told him weeks ago that Amanda Staveley’s takeover would not go through.

The Spaniard also confirmed that the had been given the go-ahead to strengthen his team in what remains of the January transfer with the sportswear magnate still at the helm.

Benitez said: “When I was talking with Mike Ashley, he told me that the takeover wouldn’t go through. Since then – and I’m talking maybe two or three weeks – we have just tried to do what we have to do in this transfer window and prepare the team for the game. That’s it.

“In terms of players and training sessions, nothing has changed, so we continue to do exactly the same.

“In terms of the transfer window, we have some targets and some names, the club has the names and we are trying to progress.”

Tyneside erupted on Tuesday night when Ashley pulled the plug on talks with Staveley and her PCP Capital Partners group, accusing them of wasting his time.

The Yorkshire businesswoman responded by insisting her offer is still on the table in a national newspaper interview, sparking hope that a deal could yet be done, although Benitez has insisted he is just getting on with his job.

As he prepared his team for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Manchester City, he said: “The takeover is not my issue. My focus is Man City and trying to improve the players I have here. That’s what I try to do every day.”

With hopes of a significant cash injection as a result of a takeover now over, Ashley has sanctioned limited investment this month and his manager is now awaiting news having provided the hierarchy with his list of targets.

Benitez said: “He said clearly they will try to do the best they can to bring the players we are looking for. The conversation was positive, that’s always in life so now we need to see the players here.

“It doesn’t matter [the budget], they have the names and they will try to do it. It doesn’t matter about the figure, it’s what we try to do and do. We have three or four positions we want to improve.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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