Rafa Benitez delivers transfer message to Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez.
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Rafa Benitez believes Mike Ashley can’t afford NOT to spend money in January’s transfer window.

Ashley is in talks with Amanda Staveley over selling Newcastle United – but a deal might not be done until February.

Benitez, however, needs to strengthen his squad next month.

And United’s manager doesn’t think owner Ashley – who met Middle East-based financier and would-be buyer Staveley for talks in London this week – can afford to risk the club’s Premier League status by not backing him in the window.

“I think he’s a businessman,” said Benitez. “A businessman will have a clear idea about what he needs to do to improve his business, and then it will be much better.

“I think he wants to win, because it’s good for him, so he will try to do that.”

Newcastle are 15th in the Premier League ahead of this afternoon’s home game against Leicester City (5.30pm kick-off).

And Benitez believes the monetary value of the club is inextricably linked to its performance on the field.

“At any football club in the world, the value depends on the first team (and) what you are doing on the pitch,” he said. “You can put everything around (that), and that’s fine, but if you are in the Premier League and doing well, it’s easier.

“If you’re in the Premier League, and things are not going well, it’s more difficult, and if you are in the Championship, it has less value. That’s so simple.

“For any club in the world, it depends on the performance of the first team. And then you have to be sure that the first team’s doing well.”

Ashley agreed a transfer budget with Benitez in May when the pair sat down in the wake of promotion.

Benitez – who missed out on a series of summer targets – wants unspent money from the last transfer window to be available to him next month.

“We’ll talk about what we have and what we need and what we have in terms of money in the summer and what we did not spend and we have to now,” he said.