The Chronicle reports that Rafa has been given no assurances that owner Mike Ashley will empty his coffers in the January transfer window.
Even for the notoriously thrifty Ashley that is a baffling update. Surely the owner realises that unless he gives the manager money to spend in January the team will almost certainly drop into the Championship for the third time in his ownership of the club.
The playing squad is simply not good enough at present to survive the season. They have little to no creativity going forward, with playmaker Jonjo Shelvey being limited by the lack of talent around him, while – aside from a Yoshinori Muto inspired effort against Manchester United last time out – there’s been no bite to the Magpies’ attack.
It’s difficult to ascertain where the club’s first victory is going to come from. They host fellow strugglers Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, a winnable game on paper but one that the cynics will pinpoint as yet another banana skin for Benitez’s side.
The club’s last home performance, a dismal 2-0 defeat against Leicester City, doesn’t do much to inspire confidence amongst the support on Tyneside, either.
The longer the wait goes on the worse the atmosphere is going to become in Newcastle. However, Ashley is seemingly in no rush to open his chequebook.
There isn’t much doubt that unless the club invests significantly in the winter they will almost definitely drop into the second tier. That would be a disaster for a club of this size and would, deservedly, increase the vitriol directed at Ashley tenfold.