Joey Barton tells talkSPORT power struggle between Mike Ashley and Rafael Benitez at Newcastle is a dangerous game

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Former Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton believes the Magpies are in danger of losing manager Rafael Benitez over a power struggle with owner Mike Ashley.

In a rare interview, Ashley told Sky Sports he is unable to give ‘enough money’ to Benitez in the summer transfer window because of a lack of club funding.

READ MORE: Joey Barton signs for talkSPORT

Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT on Wednesday, Benitez admitted his frustration and unhappiness with his team’s recruitment to date – but pledged his future to the club.

Despite the departure of chief scout Graham Carr, Benitez has enjoyed little success in the transfer market, with expenditure standing at £31million.

And Barton does not expect Benitez to tolerate being given limited funds as the Magpies attempt to retain their Premier League status.

“I think they’re very vulnerable. I think they were vulnerable last year – they’re very expansive,” Barton told Drivetime.

“In certain parts of the field you can’t be [vulnerable] coming into the Premier League and no doubt Benitez will be aware of that, and that’s probably why he wanted the money to spend.

“The team that wins the Championship – you need a totally different set of players almost, to adapt to the Premier League.

“Because you go from being expected to win every week against lesser opposition to trying to stay in games and trying to nick points against superior opposition.

“I can understand Benitez’s frustrations. There are clearly two egos [and] a power struggle behind the scenes about what’s going on.

 “Benitez is loved by the fans, Ashley not – and I think that will play out. It usually ends up with the manager going. And I think if that was to happen now, I think that would be catastrophic for Newcastle, especially on the eve of what is going to be an incredibly tough season for them.

“If everything was going swimmingly and they got all their transfer targets, it was [still] always going to be a tough year coming back up.

“I just hope for the fans that it resolves itself pretty soon because I think what people can never take away is the passion of the Geordie fans.”

Joey Barton will be joining Adrian Durham and Ray Parlour for talkSPORT’s flagship Saturday afternoon show, ‘Matchday Live’.



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