Rafael Benitez has claimed that a loss of “trust” caused by “three years of unfulfilled promises” from Newcastle’s board resulted in his departure from the Premier League club.
Benitez joined Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang when his Newcastle contract expired at the end of June, having defied the tight budget imposed by owner Mike Ashley to guide the club to a 13th-place finish.
In a fierce response to Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley’s claims over the weekend that Benitez left “for money”, the Spaniard said if that were the case, he “could have done it much earlier”.
“Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me an offer I could accept,” Benitez said in his column for The Athletic.
“They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground – if they like, I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that. Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and, in my opinion, the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10.
“After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer and, when it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings.
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“After three years of unfulfilled promises, I didn’t trust them.”