Rafa Benitez is reportedly happy at Newcastle and could remain in charge at St James’ Park beyond the end of this season, as the club and manager prepare for contract extension talks.
Benitez’s contract with Newcastle is up next summer and the two parties are thought to be some distance away from agreeing new terms. The saga been a source of much concern amongst fans, many of whom would like to see the Spaniard extend his time on Tyneside.
The Chronicle report that the 58-year-old is believed to have been involved in positive talks with managing director Lee Charnley, who convinced Benitez to join Newcastle following the relegation in 2016.
According to the report Benitez has indicated that he is happy to stay at St James' Park, but there is a long way to go before any contract extension is agreed, with transfer funds and assurances on the board's commitment to improving the club’s academy and facilities top of the agenda.
Benitez led the club back to the top flight in convincing style and solidified their place in the Premier League last season. There have been persistent reports that he was unhappy with Mike Ashley's ownership and views the club chairman as an obstacle to what he is trying to achieve.
Ashley’s apparent refusal to release funds for transfers has been the main source of contention for Benitez. The Spaniard allegedly feels he was unable to suitably strengthen his side again in the summer despite some significant departures.
In particular, when current Premier League top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic was allowed to join Premier League rivals Fulham for around £20m. Whilst Benitez had no ongoing plans for the Serbian international, he didn’t want to sanction a move without finding a suitable replacement.
Newcastle were unable to attract a new striker in the summer and ended up settling on a loan deal for Salomon Rondon. That deal came at the expense of fellow striker Dwight Gayle going the other way to West Brom, a questionable swap that still left the Magpies short of a replacement for Mitrovic.
The stringent policy has had a detrimental effect on the side as they have struggled to get off the mark this season failing to win any of their first six games. Transfers remain a sticking issue over Benitez’s contract talks as the manager wants assurances he will backed in the future.
The Chronicle are reporting that this is the only ongoing issue in contrast to other reports regarding the manager is unhappy living in the North East and that the two are yet to agree a wage packet.