Mike Ashley gives controversial second exclusive to Sky Sports

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has revealed he can’t provide enough funds for Rafael Benitez in this current transfer market - by comparing the Magpies to Manchester City.

Benitez has spoken on numerous occasions venting his disappointment at the club’s inability to secure the players he wanted.

When the 57-year-old chose to stay at St James’ Park in May, Ashley told in a public statement that Benitez "can every last penny the club generates.”

And while Ashley has stuck by that claim, he has offered a controversial update on the Magpies’ finances.

“It won’t generate enough”

“Every penny the club generates, he can have, but it won’t generate enough," said Ashley.

Ashley’s comment has caused much anger among Newcastle supporters having seen fellow promoted sides Brighton and Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town strengthen their squads accordingly.

The Toon owner reinitiated that Benitez was in full control and that the relationship between the Spaniard and Lee Charnley remains key.

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He said: "With Lee Charnley’s help – and Lee Charnley answers to Rafa, not the other way around, so we’re crystal clear – Rafa makes all the final decisions on the players out and the players in, but he has to do it with the money the club has.”

This raises question marks over Charnley's and Benitez' working relationship given the number of players Benitez has missed out on. 

Avoiding the real issue

Ashley stunningly compared the Magpies’ finances to Man City, comments which have completed ignored Benitez and supporters concern.

He seemingly avoided the real issue which is strengthening spending reasonable money.

 "I don’t have that cash in the bank, so I don’t have that ability to write a cheque for £200million,” said Ashley

"I don’t have it. It’s very simple, it’s not there. I’d have to sell Sports Direct shares to fund that.

"So people outside of football looking in and the way sometimes it’s portrayed, is that those sort of wealth terms are in the bank – they’re not.”

No one has asked Ashley to throw £200million at the player…

Competing with Man City? Said who!

"It’s Newcastle United. It doesn’t have a £40million-a-year stadium naming rights deal, it doesn’t.

"So I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think ‘that’s great, Rafa’s getting £150million in the morning’. He’s not.

“If you say to me ‘I’m wealthy’. Well, OK. In theory I’m a whatever, a billionaire, maybe even a multi-billionaire, but in reality my wealth is in Sports Direct shares, which, as I said the other week, are like wallpaper.

"I’ve got to make it crystal clear that I am nowhere near wealthy enough in football now to compete with the likes of Manchester City etc and not just Man City.

"Basically, it’s a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries. I cannot and I will not."