By Danny Wright

15th Aug, 2017 | 11:47am

'A soap opera' - Joey Barton hits out at Newcastle owner Mike Ashley for comments

By Danny Wright

Former Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has hit out at owner Mike Ashley for turning the club into a “soap opera” with his latest comments to the media.

Ashley said last week that he is finding it hard to finance Rafa Benitez’s overhaul of the squad despite promising at the end of last season that he would give the Magpies boss his full financial support.

Barton, 34, believes that Benitez has been drawn into siding with the controversial owner but added that the whole situation surrounding the Tyneside club could lead to them being without a manager within a few months’ time.

“Newcastle is a great club, but the owner causes a lot of problems. It’s his way or the highway. I can’t see Benitez staying there until Christmas,” said Barton to TalkSport, as quoted on their website.

“Ashley’s interview on TV was silly because it draws everybody in and makes it a soap opera because Rafa has to respond and has to take a side.

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“I believe Benitez wants to go. His body language says Ashley has not come through with what he wanted this summer, and that means he feels he won’t have the opportunity to establish Newcastle in the top half of the Premier League.”

Despite seeing fellow promoted sides Brighton and Huddersfield make considerable additions to their squad, Newcastle have only brought in four players on permanent deals this summer.

Christian Atsu, Florian Lejeune, Javier Manquillo and Jacob Murpy have all been recruited by the Magpies, as well as Mikel Merino who arrived on loan from Borussia Dortmund.

Benitez has been linked with a number of strikers and goalkeepers over the course of the transfer window but it appears that he may be getting close to a breakthrough in one of those areas.

The Telegraph has reported that Stoke forward Joselu is on his way to St. James’ Park in a deal worth £5million.

In other Newcastle news, Shay Given has said that he has heard an astonishing claim coming out of the Magpies about Benitez and Ashley’s relationship.

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