Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has admitted that there would be no blame on Magpies boss Rafael Benitez if he chose to walk away in the summer.
Newcastle deservedly defeated Arsenal 2-1 at St James' Park on Sunday, taking the Magpies to 41 points and all but mathematically securing their Premier League status for next season.
Given the lack of funds and clarity from owner Mike Ashley, the club's move into the top half of the table has been hailed as a massive achievement and fans are desperate for the Spanish tactician to prolong his stay at St. James' Park.
However, Benitez's fractious relationship with Ashley has got some fans worried that he may decide to leave at the end of the season, and Shearer has echoed those worries.
Responding to the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman, who questioned whether Benitez could walk away if Ashley remained at the helm, Shearer tweeted: “I agree. No one could blame him if he did! He does love the club and the area and also realises the potential. It’s a shame others don’t!”
Another Newcastle legend, Micky Quinn recently revealed that Benitez is happy to stay - even if Mike Ashley remains - but only if he receives the full backing of the club's hierarchy.
No manager in the Premier League could have done what Rafa Benitez is doing. He is keeping Newcastle in the league with average footballers and hardly any money spent.— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) April 15, 2018
“Let me put this to bed straight away [that Benitez could join Arsenal]. He wants to stay at Newcastle, he’s got a year left, and he’s had other offers," the pundit revealed to talkSPORT, as quoted by HITC.
“If he gets the backing he will stay at Newcastle. He loves the club and the fans. I was speaking to him on Friday, actually, and he wants to see this job through and see Newcastle above Arsenal next year, possibly in the top six.
“That’s the ambition Benitez has, but it’s whether Newcastle can match that ambition. I got this from the horse’s mouth on Friday.”
Meanwhile, Benitez's own recent comments may also relieve some nerves in Tyneside.
He told Marca (via Sport Witness): "I have one more year of my contract and I am calm. The board is trying to get us to sit down and talk about the future so we can spend more time here and build a stronger team."