Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley will tell manager Rafael Benitez that he must start buying younger players if he signs a new contract at the club, according to the Daily Mirror.
The newspaper claims that the Spaniard will be informed that Ashley wants the club to return to a policy of signing young stars with high sell-on values.
Benitez, on the other hand, is thought to be of the belief that experienced signings are the best way to ensure Premier League survival, with the summer recruitment of Salomon Rondon and Federico Fernandez proving that fact.
This policy change will likely see Benitez face a battle to complete the permanent signing of Rondon in the summer, with the 29-year-old not in line with Ashley’s thinking.
This is probably not something the club’s supporters want to read, in all honesty. Having a policy of signing young players isn’t an issue in and of itself, although its track record is patchy at best. However, this could prove to be a big sticking point in Benitez’s upcoming contract negotiations. The Spaniard obviously has one way of thinking and the club has another, although they did meet in the middle with the club record signing of 25-year-old Miguel Almiron in January. Obviously compromise is possible, but when it’s a policy decision rather than a one-off Benitez might find it more difficult to agree. He clearly favours experience and so he won’t like being told that he has to sign young players moving forward. Ultimately there needs to be some wiggle room, with Rondon being a fine example of when the club needs to bend its rules. The Venezuelan is an absolute must of a summer signing and if the club turn down that possibility then we may see Benitez follow the West Bromwich Albion loanee out of the St James’ Park exit door.