By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Harry Redknapp is convinced Rafael Benitez will stay at Newcastle in the summer regardless of whether they get relegated.
Redknapp made the bold claim on talkSPORT on Tuesday even though Benitez has a break clause in his three-year contract if the Magpies go down.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Chelsea manager is expected by many to leave St James’ Park if he is not able to maintain the club’s top flight status.
Benitez took over with 10 matches remaining and, after a difficult start, has overseen a revival with five points from the team’s last three matches against Liverpool, Manchester City and Swansea to inspire hope Newcastle can stay up.
Former Tottenham manager Redknapp is convinced that Benitez will have the chance to mould the club his own way, and will take the opportunity even if Newcastle go down.
“With Rafa I think he’d stay – I’d be surprised if he left,” Redknapp told talkSPORT, as quoted by the Mirror. “I’m sure he’d stay on and would want to bring them back up next year.
“Newcastle is a special club. I know their results don’t tell you that, but when you get 50,000 people every week – it’s an incredible stadium. They would be a powerhouse in the Championship.”
Newcastle are 19th position in the Premier League but are only one point behind Sunderland and 17th-placed Norwich, who both have one match in hand on Benitez’s team.
The Spaniard has refused to comment on his long term plans, insisting that he keen to keep the club up and is open minded about his future.
However club officials are keen for him to stay on and put right the problems at St James’s Park.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez has made a bold claim about one of the team’s younger players.