Rafa Benitez ‘close’ to Newcastle stay – as Graham Carr heads towards exit

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Graham Carr is set to leave Newcastle United after Mike Ashley promised manager Rafa Benitez full control of transfers.

The club is yet to finalise a deal for Benitez to stay on and manage the club in the Championship.

Benitez has held talks with owner Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley over the past few days.

And the club is hopeful of a breakthrough in the next 48 hours, with the two parties understood to be “close” to an agreement.

While Benitez has not yet committed to the relegated Magpies, he has already drawn up a list of transfer targets after being given a number of assurances by Ashley and Charnley.

Chief scout Carr has, up to now, been in charge of recruitment, but he is likely to leave should Benitez stay on Tyneside.

However, Benitez could yet be tempted by an 11th-hour offer from a Premier League club.

The 56-year-old – whose family is based on Merseyside – has been linked with the vacant Everton post.

Meanwhile, Ayoze Perez has labelled Newcastle fans as unbelievable for their show of support for Benitez.

Supporters chanted Benitez’s name throughout Sunday’s 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Perez “couldn’t believe” the atmosphere at St James’s Park given that Sunderland’s win over Everton three days earlier had condemned United to the Championship.

“Sunday just showed you what everyone thinks about Rafa Benitez,” said the forward.

“It was amazing – I couldn’t believe what happened.

“After the relegation, it would have been normal for everyone to be very down.

“But what I saw from the fans was amazing. We have to use that.

“We have to be together and think about getting back as soon as possible, and keeping the manager would be a big part of that. We all want it to happen.”