Former ​Liverpool and ​West Ham midfielder Don Hutchison claims that he wouldn't be surprised if Mike Ashley started looking at candidates to replace Rafa Benítez at Newcastle.

Hutchison, who made 25 appearances for the Scottish national team, believes that ​Newcastle's owner could look to get the Champions League winning manager off of the Magpies wage bill and replace him with a cheaper candidate.

The midfielder made these claims after Mark Douglas, the author of Inside the Rafaloution, said that Newcastle's controversial owner is landing himself in hot water with fans after appearing to fail in backing Benítez during the transfer market.

"Mike Ashley is walking on very, very thin ice," Douglas wrote on Twitter. "Rafa Benitez [is] the only thing preserving the very fragile truce between club and fans at [Newcastle].

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"Think this will at least force the issue with transfer funds. Would hope some to be made available to Rafa Benitez (they should have been anyway). But it's late in the window now...."


Newcastle were believed to be close to a change in ownership, with Ashley considering selling the club Amanda Staveley's PCP Partners. However, a source close to the 53-year-old retail entrepreneur claimed that a deal wasn't being considered.

"It is only right to let the fans know that there is no deal on the table - or even under discussion - with Amanda Staveley and PCP," the source told Sky Sports.

"Attempts to reach a deal with Amanda Staveley and PCP have proved exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time."