herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Toon sail close to the wind

Rafa Benitez. Photo: Getty Images
Rafa Benitez. Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle remain in a state of limbo with manager Rafael Benitez's contract running down fast and little sign of an imminent breakthrough in takeover talks.

The Spaniard's existing deal is due to expire on June 30 and while there is a new offer on the table, it is understood that there is still a distance between the two parties.

A report yesterday suggested Dalian Yifang have attempted to lure Benitez away from English football with a £12million-a-year deal to manage in the Chinese Super League, effectively doubling his money.

However, the 59-year-old has been linked with a move to China for more than a year and while he prides himself on honouring contracts, he has made it clear in the recent past that he sees his future in Europe, and ideally in the Premier League.

What is not in any doubt is that the Magpies' hierarchy are sailing close to the wind if they are to keep the man who guided the club back into the top flight and has kept them there for the last two seasons.

They want Benitez to stay and believe they have made him a lucrative offer, while he wants to carry on but only if he has greater control of the recruitment process.

That would include freedom to sign the players he wants regardless of their age or potential resale value.

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