Rafael Benitez: Newcastle United manager will ‘almost certainly leave’ this week when his contract expires

24 Jun

Rafael Benitez will ‘almost certainly’ leave Newcastle United when his contract as manager expires later this week, talkSPORT has been told.

The Spaniard’s deal runs out on Sunday and is expected to depart having failed to agree an extension with owner Mike Ashley.

Benitez’s future has been one of the biggest talking points around St James’ Park over the last 12 months as his contract winds down.

Rafa Benitez is a hero to Newcastle fans after taking the club back to the Premier League

His deal expires on June 30th – this coming Sunday – and there has been no official news over whether a new agreement has been struck, while he has been linked with a £12m-a-year job in China.

The Champions League-winning boss is beloved by the club’s avid fans, who have urged him to stay throughout the season.

But, according to talkSPORT’s man in the North East, Graham Courtney, Benitez will leave the Magpies this summer.

MORE: ‘Newcastle fans will never forgive Benitez if he leaves this summer’

Asked for the latest on the manager’s future, Courtney said on Monday’s Sports Breakfast: “Rafa Benitez will almost certainly go at the weekend.

“If he was going to stay, it would have been announced by now. I just can’t understand how there will be any other logical outcome.

Magpies supporters are desperate for Benitez to stay

“It’s probably a bit of stubbornness from both sides.

“Rafa has simply said: ‘I’ve been here, I’ve got my feet under the table and I feel this club can really move forward. We got back into the Premier League and managed to survive, but let’s now move things on and have a right good run’.

“He’s obviously then gone to Mike Ashley. There’s no point in saying ‘sack the board’, there is no board – Mike Ashley is the person you have to talk to and deal with.

“And you end up with an immovable force on both sides.

“’This is the way this club works, we buy young players and sell them for a bit of a profit, we don’t do this, we don’t do that – and by the way, you’re on £6m a year and you can have the same again next year’.

“We understand he has been offered one-year extension on his contract, which expires on Sunday, and Rafa has said no.

“He wants to move the club on, he wants to do things at the training ground and rejig things when it comes to the youngster side of the club and the academy  – other clubs are putting stacks of money into trying to bring through young players.

Mike Ashley will have to begin the search for a Newcastle’s next manager with Benitez set to leave

“But crucially, he wants to take over the bringing in and selling of players. He wants to be given the funds to do that.

“And Mike Ashley has simply said: “No, we don’t operate like that. That’s the way it’s going to be, it’s going to be the same as it was last year, take it or leave it.

“So Rafa, I’m afraid, at the end of this month his contract will run out and he will leave.”

Listen back to Graham Courtney on the Sports Breakfast in full above