RAFAEL BENITEZ is still waiting for the go-ahead to spend some money during this month’s transfer window – and is desperate for developments before Newcastle United miss out on more targets.

The Magpies’ owner Mike Ashley had a chat with Benitez a couple of weeks ago but has still not learned how much of a kitty he has – if any – to invest in the squad before the end of the month.

Benitez is understood to feel there is still a sizeable figure from the profits made in previous windows still to be spent having not been given it last summer – and has previously suggested he would like his squad finalised by January 20.

That gives him a fortnight to move players on and to bring players in as he looks to have around 25 players to call on in his bid to keep Newcastle in the Premier League – after they have hopefully avoided a FA Cup shock against League Two leaders Luton this afternoon.

Asked when he hopes to hear if he will have money to spend, he replied: “Sooner rather than later. Sooner.”

He added: “I had a conversation with them before. We said what we wanted to do. I am waiting for them to say ‘yes do it’.”

Despite the transfer window opening six days ago, and the need for new players at St James’ Park, Benitez remains in limbo on the transfer front.

He has a number of targets in mind, particularly in midfield and up front where he is seeking improvements, although he has already lost out to Everton for Besiktas’ Cenk Tosun.

The ongoing uncertainty over the future ownership of the club, however, is not helping his cause.

Benitez said: “I don’t know exactly what our budget is so don’t have any news. We have to keep working and try to make sure we have our targets because I don’t know. I have to prepare the team.

“We had a meeting last week and had conversations and I am waiting now for news. We had the meeting, talking about options, targets and waiting for the numbers. I can’t say nothing, no more.

“We don’t talk about names. At the moment we don’t have any movement so we are waiting.”

Benitez had hoped Amanda Staveley and her PCP Capital Partners would have agreed to buy the club by now, or at least seen Ashley sanction spending to protect his investment by strengthening the squad’s chances of staying in the Premier League.

He said: “I am happy with my squad, but still we need some bodies. How many I will not say, I don’t know the budget so it doesn’t matter whether I say one, two or three or four ... sometimes you have a target and you don’t get a target also.

“January is always difficult because they might be in a top side and don’t want to leave now. I am being realistic, we have one game tomorrow and that’s it.”

Newcastle still expect to sign Chelsea youngster Kenedy on loan and the arrival of Ross Barkley at Stamford Bridge could have an effect. Benitez has also shown an interest in Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Liverpool’s Danny Ings, although Walcott looks set for Southampton if he does leave.

Benitez said: “We have to wait and see where we are and see if we can get what we want. I don’t want to say too much (about missed targets).

“We have to move players on because of the number of squad players. But because of money I do not see a massive difference (in how much will be available to spend after departures).”

As Benitez prepares for a break from Premier League action in the FA Cup today, he can at least be satisfied by the way Newcastle have lifted themselves two points clear of relegation over Christmas with an improved run of form.

Newcastle collected seven points from a possible 12, with wins at West Ham and Stoke as well as a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester City – raising fears the improvements could have had a negative effect on whether Ashley hands him any cash.

“No,” said Benitez. “We were doing our job preparing names of players and everything we were doing before. These last games does not change anything, it is still four points between a lot of teams (11th to 18th). We have to do what we have to do.”