Anxious wait for Newcastle over Benitez commitment

Newcastle United face an anxious few days as they wait for Rafa Benitez to commit to the club.

Thursday, 19th May 2016, 6:00 am
Rafa Benitez

Benitez has been in talks for a week over staying on at St James’s Park.

The former Liverpool boss has thrashed out a way forward for the relegated Tynesiders with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley.

Newcastle are willing to agree to the terms laid down by Benitez, who is back at his family home on Merseyside.

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Charnley met Ashley – who had a meeting with Benitez after Sunday’s 5-1 win over Tottenham – for talks at the Shirebrook headquarters of the billionaire’s Sports Direct empire on Tuesday.

There have been discussions with Benitez over a restructuring of the club – chief scout Graham Carr is set to leave, with Spaniard Benitez assuming full control over incomings and outgoings – as well as budgets and potential transfer targets.

Benitez – who would still consider an 11th-hour offer from a Premier League club – has wanted written assurances over a number of issues.

Newcastle, reluctant to force his hand, are now waiting for a final decision, and this may not come for several days.

In the meantime, work is progressing ahead on the Magpies’ pre-season campaign – Benitez has had an input into plans for July – as well as contracts and recruitment.

Defenders Steven Taylor and Kevin Mbabu, both out of contract this summer, will this week discover if they are to be offered new deals.

Others, including Tim Krul, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Vurnon Anita, have deals which expire next year and their contractual situations will need to be addressed. Krul, sidelined since October, is likely to be offered a contract.

Ashley and Charnley have made it clear to Benitez that there will not be a fire sale of players.