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Almost certain Rafa Benitez is signing Newcastle United extension – Telegraph

1 year ago

An interesting new report on the future of Rafa Benitez.

It is now only 41 days until the current three year contract (Rafa pictured above signing it in 2016) comes to an end.

The Arsenal game tonight being one of only seven Premier League matches remaining for the Newcastle manager, unless an extension is forthcoming…

Rafa Benitez was asked, as always, on Friday about his contract situation and not sure what ‘played it with a straight bat’ is in Spanish, but that is how, as always, he played the question.

Various media tried to make more out of his response than was warranted, as Rafa had basically just said he was in regular touch with Lee Charnley, journalists wanting to intimate that the manager was indicating he could be now set to stay.

Monday morning has seen Luke Edwards give his update on the situation surrounding the manager’s future.

Luke has covered Newcastle United for a lot of years as the Telegraph’s man covering north east football and interesting that in his update he isn’t claiming insider knowledge, in fact just the opposite.

Apart from stating that he knows talks have been going on, he doesn’t claim that he has some exclusive inside track..’Things have changed…make no mistake, constructive talks are taking place, quietly, without fuss, in the background. It is hugely encouraging.’

The man from The Telegraph declaring ‘We have reached the stage where it is now almost certain he (Rafa Benitez) will sign a new contract at St James’ Park.’

He is basing his claims on knowledge of just basic info he has (that talks are allegedly ongoing) but apparently mainly on the feeling he is getting from Rafa’s body language etc at press conferences and suchlike.

Luke Edwards stating: ‘As far as I am concerned, Benitez will be Newcastle United’s manager next season.’

It is a strange one as a fan to question this, or argue against it, but I do think we have to be well aware and accepting of just how good Rafa Benitez is at handling these things.

Put it this way, you wouldn’t fancy your chances of winning at Poker against Rafa!

Decades of experience as a manager, most of that in as high, if not higher, pressure situations as he now faces at Newcastle, means that Rafa Benitez knows exactly what to do in the circumstances.

It is a bit like when he has been repeatedly let down in the transfer market by Mike Ashley. Yes he kicks off during those windows and when they close with disappointment yet again BUT he then simply gets on with the job and bigs up his players, tries to get more out of them, Rather than throwing them under a bus like certain other NUFC managers would do, to try and deflect any blame from himself.

The way I see it, the ball is still very much in Mike Ashley’s court.

If Rafa Benitez is to extend his contract, my belief is that the owner still has to convince the manager that anything of substance has changed.

There have been no big announcements on significant improvement to the infrastructure of the club, whether that is the training complex, St James Park, or the Academy.

Whilst on the transfer front, signing one player for what is now a run of the mill Premier League transfer fee on the last day of the January transfer window, isn’t in any way a massive signal of intent, not on its own anyway.

I really hope the man from The Telegraph is correct when looking into his black and white crystal ball but I still think Rafa Benitez is giving nothing away and simply still waiting to see whether Mike Ashley will at last see what the reality is of at least trying to properly run a Premier League club.

Luke Edwards writing in The Telegraph:

‘It is always a risk to make a definitive statement on anything to do with Rafa Benitez’s future at Newcastle United, but we have reached the stage where it is now almost certain he will sign a new contract at St James’ Park.

It is a fear that has stalked supporters all season, the risk that Benitez would abandon them, his relationship with the club’s owner Mike Ashley so riddled with mistrust and animosity, it made it impossible for him extend his contract. Things have changed.

There is no running commentary on the progress being made in negotiations. No leaks, no off-the-record briefings, no attempts to put pressure on the other in the court of public opinion. But, make no mistake, constructive talks are taking place, quietly, without fuss, in the background. It is hugely encouraging.

To put it simply, it would now be a far bigger shock if Benitez left Newcastle than if he stayed. The manager Newcastle supporters have loved more than any other since Sir Bobby Robson is preparing himself to sign a new contract.

If the two have spent most of the last 18 months dancing around each other like a matador taunting an angry Spanish bull, things have changed. If they are dancing, it is to a soft rock ballad. They have not quite embraced, but eye contact has been made and the flames of mutual attraction have sparked.

We are not quite there yet, but everything points to a positive conclusion in negotiations. Nobody has told me this is certain, or that everything has been agreed, but as far as I am concerned, Benitez will be Newcastle United’s manager next season.


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