Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has insisted that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley will have to pay for the consequences of not backing Rafael Benitez properly.
Benitez has indicated that Ashley has not backed him in the transfer market since he fashioned Newcastle’s return to the Premier League two years ago.
The Newcastle owner has his backers, but the wider view is that the 54-year-old has penny pinched and has been depending on Benitez’s skill as a manager to keep the club in the Premier League.
The Spaniard is on high wages at Newcastle, but Carragher feels that cannot be an excuse for the Magpies not even competing with the promoted clubs for players in the transfer market.
The Newcastle owner has blocked deals as he was not prepared to pay a high transfer fee or meet the wage demands of several players.
But Carragher believes it will come back to haunt him if Benitez leaves Newcastle at the end of the season when his contract with the club expires.
The former Liverpool defender wrote in his column for the Telegraph: “Ashley can argue Benitez is one of the highest paid managers in the Premier League so he has spent more than he is credited, but the transfer fees over the last four years and beyond paint a different picture.
“The club came out of the last transfer window with £23.2 million profit at a time when they had to spend a minimum of £40 million net to improve the team – and that is a conservative estimate in the current era of spending.
“Ashley has baulked at players’ salaries from the most moderately paid players by Premier League standards.
“Newcastle is a club that used to dream of fighting with the top clubs for players, now they can’t even compete with promoted teams like Wolves and Fulham for the same targets.”
He continued: “At the moment they are losing out to clubs like Burnley who are more willing to meet contract expectations.
"That is what happened when the clubs were pursuing Jack Cork a year ago.
“The owner must be calculating he can save money now by relying on Benitez to keep the club up, but it is a false economy.
"The bill will come later as a less capable manager will need cash to match the job he is doing next season.”