Rafael Benitez has once again taken aim at the Newcastle United hierarchy for the failure to back him in the transfer market.

The St James' Park club missed out on a number of targets in the summer, including Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, due to wantaway owner Mike Ashley being unwilling to invest.

Newcastle made six signings in the summer for a total of £36.2m, with only five top flight sides spending less. Despite a steady start to the campaign, the 3-0 weekend defeat to Watford was the club's fourth in a row in the Premier League.

Benitez said last week he was uncertain whether he would be given any funds to improve his Newcastle squad in the New Year, amid reports Ashley would withhold money as he attempts to sell the club.

And following fresh reports that Amanda Staveley's £300m takeover is on the brink of collapsing, Benitez has once again bemoaned the resources at his disposal ahead of the final two thirds of a campaign which is set to be dominated by a battle for survival.

"Our reality is if you want to buy a striker that scores 20 goals every year you have to pay now £40m," said Benitez, according to Sky Sports. "An average striker is £15m, £20m, £25m, if he kicks the ball forward it's £15m - if he scores it's £25m. We didn't do that, we didn't do that and that's it. We need to know who we are and where we are.

"You can lose against the top teams but we have to compete against Huddersfield, against Brighton or against Burnley but we couldn't sign players that they signed. We couldn't pay the wages that they paid, so that is what we have."

Staveley is understood to have submitted an offer to buy Newcastle but the terms of the deal – which is purported to include a relegation clause – has held up negotiations.

Prior to Staveley firming up her interest, reports had suggested Benitez could be handed as much as £500m to invest in the next two transfer windows to boost Newcastle's hopes of a top half finish and an assault on European qualification.

But The Daily Telegraph understand the whole takeover could yet fall through, leaving Ashley as the disengaged owner after he reaffirmed his desire to sell Newcastle last month.

Rafael Benitez
Benitez is concerned Newcastle's fortunes could dwindle without some investment. Getty Images