By Harry Sykes

Rafael Benitez is ready to quit Newcastle after a deal to sign Andros Townsend on deadline day collapsed, according to a report.

The Mail claim the Magpies manager could walk out on the club at the end of the season after the club failed to back him in the transfer market during the recently completed window.

It is said that Benitez is “mystified” that owner Mike Ashley refused to sanction the signing of winger Townsend from Crystal Palace six months after he had left St James’ Park.

The Mail report that the former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager entered deadline day with the hope that Ashley would pay the £13million that Palace were asking for Townsend.

But there were no new arrivals during the January window at Newcastle even though Benitez wanted to recruit a winger and a central midfielder.

It has reportedly left Benitez in a fury and thrown his long-term future at the club into doubt.

The 56-year-old Spaniard has no intention of quitting midway through the season while the club are in the promotion hunt but supporters will be alarmed at the rumours of discord behind the scenes.

Benitez agreed to stay on at St James’ Park despite the team’s relegation and signed a three-year contract that runs until the summer of 2019.

But he did so after being given guarantees that he would have full control over transfers, and Ashley’s conduct in the recently completed window mean he will now seek promises of spending control in the summer if he is to remain at the helm.

Newcastle are well placed to secure instant promotion after accumulating 59 points from 28 league matches, which places them second in the league and a single point behind leaders Brighton.

Benitez’s team drew 2-2 at home against QPR on Wednesday night, as they wasted their chance to leapfrog Chris Hughton’s side and climb back to the top.

In other Newcastle news, fans have reacted to Ayoze Perez’s performance against QPR on Wednesday night.

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