Rafael Benitez insists he knows little about the impending takeover of Newcastle United and simply wants to discover "as soon as possible" how much he will have to spend during the January transfer window in order to halt a disastrous run of form that has now seen his side lose seven of their last eight Premier League matches.

Much of the build-up to Wednesday night's (13 December) 1-0 defeat to Everton at St James' Park was dominated by talk that Amanda Staveley and Dubai-based investment firm PCP Capital Partners were edging closer to a deal with much-maligned current owner Mike Ashley after increasing their initial offer from £250m ($268.2m) to £300m.

Such a takeover, provided it is agreed and goes ahead without a hitch, is not likely to be completed until the end of January at the earliest, although reports suggest that Ashley and Staveley will come together to ensure that there are funds made available to strengthen the playing squad in the New Year.

Benitez admitted earlier this week that Newcastle were currently monitoring targets ahead of the window and were aware of what areas they need to strengthen, yet reiterated that he had no idea what the budget would be.

He said he had asked the question of managing director Lee Charnley and was "waiting for an answer in a few days". It was subsequently reported that Ashley would foot the bill for around £30m worth of improvements next month before being reimbursed by the new owners later down the line.

Quizzed again by the BBC as to when he needed to know how much money was available following that defeat to Everton, the increasingly desperate Benitez replied: "As soon as possible but I don't know when.

"We have the money from the summer window - I think we have some money but I need to know how much."

Out-of-form Newcastle, 16th and just one point above the relegation zone, will travel to Arsenal on Saturday without Jonjo Shelvey, who was sent off at the death against Everton after receiving his second yellow card for a lunge on Idrissa Gueye.

The hot-headed midfielder, who was recalled to the starting XI alongside captain Jamaal Lascelles, Mohamed Diame and Christian Atsu, also stands to miss the trip to West Ham United on 23 December as he faces a two-game suspension for his second dismissal of the season.

Shelvey was also given his marching orders on the opening weekend of the campaign after stamping on Dele Alli's ankle during the second half of a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

"In this case Jonjo Shelvey's red card is different but still it is a red card," Benitez said. "We maybe lose him for a couple of games."