Rafa Benitez is reportedly close to agreeing a deal to stay with relegated Newcastle for next season.
Benitez was appointed by the Tyneside club in March, replacing Steve McClaren, having left Real Madrid in Janaury.
But he was unable to prevent relegation, Newcastle condemned with a game to play after Sunderland beat Everton, Sunday’s 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur coming in a dead-rubber, though Newcastle were unbeaten in their final six games.
Benitez’s contract at the club includes a break clause for the summer and it was thought it would be exercised in the event of relegation, but the Guardian reports that’s not the case.
Unplanned but productive talks between Benitez and owner Mike Ashley reportedly took place on Sunday evening, the pair speaking for two hours, and Benitez then met with Newcastle’s managing director, Lee Charnley, with summer transfer targets among the topics discussed.
Ashley is said to have agreed to let Benitez rebuild the team and have responsibility for player recruitment, and Benitez is believed to be on Merseyside to discuss his next step with his family.
An agreement is however expected to be reached and it’s considered there is little chance of another club coming in for the ex-Valencia, Liverpool, Inter and Chelsea trainer.
Newcastle’s chief scout, Graham Carr, would likely step down if Benitez was retained with more control over club affairs.