Newcastle are to ditch any hope of keeping manager Rafael Benitez at the club and will begin the search for a new manager this week, according to The Times.
Benitez’s contract runs out on Sunday, with talks between the Spaniard and Magpies owner Mike Ashley at an impasse.
Neither side is said to be willing to budge in the negotiations, and the newspaper now claims that Newcastle have accepted that Benitez will depart, leaving the club free to search for his successor.
This is grave news for Newcastle fans. It now looks as if Benitez’s fate is sealed, and that the Spaniard will indeed be departing come Sunday. If this report is true, you have to say it was the most likely outcome of this long-running saga. Talks between Newcastle and the club’s hierarchy have been going on for weeks and weeks now, but there has been no suggestion whatsoever that a suitable agreement has been reached between the two parties. And because of that, it looks like neither side is willing to make any more concessions to try and thrash out a deal which everyone at Newcastle knows would be best for the club. Benitez has worked wonders with Newcastle in the time he has been there, and it would be a great shame to see him leave. This week is set to be one of the most important in the club’s recent history, and it will certainly have a big impact on the club’s planned summer of spending.