Benitez thanks Newcastle fans for support as planned boycott is called off

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Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has thanked the club’s fans for their support after a planned boycott was called off amid hope of a takeover deal being struck.

Tyneside has been plunged into a fresh frenzy of speculation since owner Mike Ashley revealed on Monday that he is in advanced talks over a sale and wants it done by the end of the month.

With four interested parties understood to have tabled bids in excess of £300million, there is hope that Ashley’s controversial 11 and a half-year reign could soon draw to a close.

With prospective buyers certain to be keeping a close eye on proceedings at St James’ Park, calls for spectators to stay away from Sunday’s live televised Premier League clash with Wolves have been withdrawn.

Benitez said: “You have been asking me in a lot of press conferences about that, and I have to say thank you to the fans because my message has been very clear all this time.

“This group of players, they deserve support because they work so hard until the last minute in every game that I think it’s fair for them.

“If the fans appreciate that, then they want to support the team in the way that they were supporting before, but even more because everybody will be even more focused on not wasting too much time with these questions and answers and if it is affecting the team or not.

“I think it will be good, it will be positive and hopefully we can get three points and everybody will be happy.”

If fans have alternated between scepticism and optimism since Ashley’s revelation, Benitez has remained diplomatically reticent on the subject.

In the meantime, he and his staff will continue to focus on games and preparations for the forthcoming January transfer window whoever is at the helm.

To that end, he has been linked with an interest in Atlanta United’s Paraguay midfielder Miguel Almiron, although the MLS club’s president Darren Eales has dismissed as “laughable” suggestions that the player could join Newcastle either on loan or for as little as £15million.

Asked about Eales’ comments, Benitez said: “We don’t talk about players. If we make an offer, they will know, we will know and not necessarily the press will know. At the moment, there is no news and we carry on with the players that we have trying to do our best for the next game.”

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