Alan Shearer has admitted that Rafa Benitez could leave Newcastle United - although he doesn't expect the Spaniard to walk away in the short-term.
The former Newcastle striker has urged owner Mike Ashley to ensure that there is change behind the scenes come the end of the season - otherwise Rafa Benitez may depart.
Pressure has mounted on the Sports Direct tycoon in recent weeks, with frustrations at Newcastle's transfer dealings, an ongoing feud with players over bonuses and a parliamentary petition seeing fans' frustrations grow.
Despite that off-field turmoil, Shearer - who was speaking to talkSPORT at a launch event ahead of the new Premier League season - believes that Benitez will remain at the club for the upcoming campaign.
But the Match of the Day pundit has warned Ashley that if nothing changes, then the Spaniard could walk.
And Shearer has lent his support to Benitez, who he believes could steer the side to safety once again despite his 'anger' at the lack of funds made available to him.
“Rafa is obviously angry because he was promised he would be given all the funds that were generated to spend on the team and that hasn’t happened," said Shearer.
“I understand Rafa’s frustration totally and the fans’ frustration too.
“They work all week in Newcastle to spend their money and have a good time at the weekend.
"A good time is going to St James’s Park and seeing their team and being loyal and being supportive and having hope but they haven’t had that.
“They have a top manager and that will give me hope that they can avoid relegation this year. To finish tenth last year was incredible."
And on Benitez's future, Shearer believes the former Chelsea and Liverpool boss will remain at St James's Park in the short-term, but has warned Ashley that a longer-term change will need to be found.
“I do think Rafa will stick around because I think he lives in hope that someone will buy the football club," he admitted.
"He realises the potential there. There are 52,000 fans at the stadium who care for that club.
"If nothing changes at the end of the season then I’m sure he will go.”