Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has been handed a major boost heading into a Premier League return after clinching the Championship title on the final day.
Productive talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley convinced Benitez to stay as manager amid fears he would walk out on the club just 12 months after signing a three-year contract.
Part of those discussions included a promised £100 million transfer budget to revamp the squad and prevent the disappointments of 2009 and 2016.
“I’ve confirmed to Rafa and Lee (Charnley, managing director) that they can have every last penny that the club generates through promotion, player sales and other means in order to build for next season,” said Ashley.
Benitez is wasting no time in his preparations, meticulous as ever, targeting Manchester City duo Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
Fernando has been a peripheral figure in Pep Guardiola’s City, starting just five Premier League games and appearing nine times off the bench to total 550 minutes of playing time this league season.
French centre-half Mangala is surplus to requirements at Manchester City and currently plies his trade on loan at Valencia in La Liga, but would demand a considerably hefty fee after his £42 million purchase from Porto in 2014.
Staying in La Liga, Benitez is eying Leganes midfielder Gabriel Pires, who was rumoured to have almost completed a loan move to The Magpies in January.
Pires has been one of the few shining lights in a relegation threatening campaign for Leganes, with the versatile Brazilian midfielder scoring five times from 32 appearances.