Rafael Benitez insists he has been kept in the dark over Amanda Staveley's proposed Newcastle takeover

Mike Ashley is reportedly close to selling the club for £300m

Damian Spellman
Thursday 14 December 2017 11:21
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Benitez saw Newcastle lose their seventh game in eight on Wednesday night
Benitez saw Newcastle lose their seventh game in eight on Wednesday night

Rafael Benitez insisted he was still in the dark over Amanda Staveley's proposed Newcastle takeover after seeing his team slump to a seventh defeat in eight Premier League outings.

Wayne Rooney's 27th-minute goal ultimately secured a 1-0 win for Everton at St James' Park as they extended their unbeaten run under new manager Sam Allardyce to four games.

Much of the talk on Tyneside ahead of kick-off surrounded reports that Staveley's PCP Capital Partners are close to agreeing a £300m deal with current owner Mike Ashley, although Benitez was tight-lipped afterwards.

He said: "I don't have any information. As I said the other day, I need to know how much money we will have for January as soon as possible, that's it. But I don't have information about the takeover."

With Ashley having put the club up for sale after admitting he cannot afford to finance Benitez's blueprint for success following a disappointing summer transfer window, the Spaniard is hoping to be able to strengthen his squad significantly next month amid speculation that the current owner will be reimbursed whatever he invests once a takeover has been completed.

But whoever is at the helm once the window opens will be under pressure to spend with the Magpies hurtling straight back into the Sky Bet Championship if something does not change radically, with only a point separating them from the bottom three.

Benitez's men will count themselves unfortunate to have been punished for a Karl Darlow error after twice hitting the woodwork before the break, but their woes were compounded in stoppage time when midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a second bookable offence which will cost him a two-match ban.

Benitez said: "It's very difficult to accept and to understand, but we have to be sure that the players are not down for too long because we have to prepare for the next game."

Former Magpies boss Allardyce was thrilled with a result which ended Everton's wait for an away win in the league at the 17th attempt dating back to January.

Asked if he had been aware of that run, he said: "No, it shocked me. It was January when we last won away from home, so it pleases me even more that we have achieved a three-point away win and another defensive performance that kept Newcastle pretty quiet.

"Our movement and passing going forward was on occasions very good, on occasions not so good, but it was a terrific move for the goal and an experienced player that showed his experience by anticipating that maybe the goalkeeper might fumble or drop this header and took the chance by going in there.

"He did and he scored, so we win 1-0 and we move onwards and upwards. I have come to football clubs who have been in trouble before, but never turned such a disappointing set of results around so quickly, one goal conceded, three wins and a draw. I'm pretty pleased. It can't get any better than that, for me."

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