Mike Ashley hasn’t been a very good owner for Newcastle. There’s no getting away from that. However, the arrival of Miguel Almiron in January was a huge step in the right direction, with Ashley finally digging into his pockets to land a big name.
It was too soon at that stage to suggest that he was changing. After all, one good deal doesn’t justify years of neglect.
Is this a sign that Ashley is changing?
Well, certainly, Benitez has likely been eager for the club to spend big throughout his tenure at the club, yet he’s often been left short. Take last summer, for example, where we simply didn’t invest in the team and subsequently spent months battling relegation.
Now, the summer is still a few months away, yet there’s already this talk of major signings. Is the main motivator here the idea of a new contract for the manager? That seems pretty obvious, but the very fact that Ashley is willing to put his money where his mouth is in order to keep an asset as important as Benitez does indicate that change has arrived at St. James’ Park.
We can’t be expecting 3 Almirons to arrive this summer, that would be foolish, but the mere prospect of the club signing another £20 million+ player in the coming months indicates a new era at Newcastle – with Ashley leading the way.
If he comes through with these promises, Ashley will certainly be on a slow path to redemption. But we’ve been here before. We’ll believe it when Benitez has signed a new deal and he’s got his arm around a flashy new signing.