Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has failed to commit himself to a future at the club as he insists the focus must be on securing the club’s Premier League safety.
The Magpies boss will celebrate his second year on Tyneside on Sunday, having replaced Steve McLaren in the St James’ Park dugout back in 2016 as they tried to avoid the threat of relegation.
Despite having the Champions League winner at the helm, the north east side did fall into the second tier, although Benitez remained to guide them back to the top flight as champions, having put pen to paper on a three-year deal, and has become a firm favourite among the Toon Army.
Now, with his contract running down to having just a year left in the summer, Benitez has worryingly avoided tying himself to remaining, rather stating that the focus must be on seeing out the current season and staying in the Premier League.
He told the Shields Gazette: “Let me finish (this season), let me do well, let us stay in the Premier League, and then we can talk about the future.
Rafa Benitez on the next two years: 'Let me finish (this season), let me do well, let us stay in the Premier League, and then we can talk about the future.” #nufc
— Miles Starforth (@milesstarforth) March 10, 2018
Football Insider verdict
Newcastle fans would want nothing more than to see Benitez commit his future to the club, but with the ongoing relegation battle and the possibility of a takeover, with the club still up for sale, there is no chance he will put pen to paper on a contract right now. It is a worrying thought as to what might happen if and when he leaves St James’ Park, for there are few other managers of his calibre available, let alone who might be interested in a move to Tyneside. It is why the question of his future is being poised even with a more than a year remaining on his current deal.
In other Newcastle United news, just two players have survived a massive cull at the club.