Benitez: I lost trust in Newcastle board

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 was 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 any 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.

Benitez was ultimately replaced by Steve Bruce, who lost his first game in charge of the club against Arsenal on Sunday.

Newcastle will return to action at newly-promoted Norwich on Saturday, before hosting Tottenhamthe following weekend.

In another development, Valencia has completed the signing of Eliaquim Mangala from Manchester City on a free transfer.

The 28-year-old defender has returned to the La Liga club two years after spending a season on loan there, penning a two-year deal keeping him at the Mestalla until 2021.

Mangala has not played for Manchester City since a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve in 2017, and his last competitive game was for his most recent loan club, Everton, two months later before a knee injury ruled him out for the remainder of that season.

The former France international was not part of Pep Guardiola’s plans despite the departure of Captain Vincent Kompany to join Anderlecht as a player-manager and the club deciding against signing a replacement.

Mangala, whose City contract would have expired next summer, originally joined from Porto for a £32m fee in 2014 and has made 57 appearances for the club.–Skysports

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