By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Rafael Benitez has agreed a new three-year Newcastle contract and will manage the club next season, according to a report.
Sky Sports claim that an announcement on the updated deal will be made by the north-east giants later on Wednesday after talks were finalised with the Spaniard.
Benitez is reportedly headed from his Merseyside home to Tyneside to sign the new contract and confirm that he is staying on as manager to lead the team in the Championship next season.
The fresh agreement is said to include written assurances that Benitez will have full control over recruitment and the club’s scouting network as well as a clear transfer budget both this summer and in the January window.
The Spaniard signed a three-year Magpies contract in March but revealed there is a break clause in the deal that allows him to quit if the club are not in the Premier League.
However, Benitez has held extensive talks with Newcastle chiefs in recent weeks about staying on after previously accepting he would leave if the club went down.
Benitez steered the north-east giants to a six-match unbeaten run at the end of the season but was unable to prevent them dropping out of the top tier.
The fans have made it abundantly clear they want the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager to stay on at St James’ Park and have urged owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley to give Benitez the control he wanted.
The Spaniard met Ashley for the first time last week to outline his demands to stay on at St James’ Park, including being given full control of recruitment, the first time this would have been granted to any maanger since the Sports Direct owner bought the club in 2007.
An announcement is imminent that Benitez will prepare the club for a 46-match campaign in England’s second tier.
In other Newcastle news, Barcelona are keen to sign one of the club’s leading players.