Keeping Rafael Benitez is the number one priority of nearly every single Newcastle United fan this summer and the longer they are made to wait, the more the nerves will be jangling.
The Spaniard is adored on Tyneside and understandably so, his influence transforming not only the fortunes of the club on the pitch but the feeling around St James’ Park and the whole of the city that the stadium watches over.
He has taken a side which still contains many of the players who were playing in the Championship two years ago and turned them into a resolute outfit who look comfortable in the top flight, if lacking in individual quality.
With a contract that is coming to an end this summer, his exit would be seen as many as unfulfilled potential – a project that has been started by the Spaniard but left incomplete.
The frustrations with owner Mike Ashley might have seen the manager leave sooner had it not been for a hefty financial clause reportedly included in his deal, the Chronicle describing it as golden handcuffs where someone would be made to pay up if he left.
In Newcastle’s case they would have been forced to pay Benitez’s wages if they gave him the sack Benitez, while rival clubs would have had to buy him out of his deal.
It no doubt kept potential suitors away from trying to prise him from St James’ Park but the latest report over his reported new terms will have fans’ hearts sinking.
The Chronicle report that there will be no such clause included in a new deal, leaving him free to either walk way or be poached by a rival should they want him for themselves.
A manager of his calibre and experience is going to want to see promises kept by Mike Ashley if he signs on the dotted line but there is never any knowing whether the owner is true to his word or not, with frustrations growing between the manager and the businessman.
The golden handcuffs deal might be why Benitez is still here – take that away and he might not be at St James’ Park for much longer.