Newcastle prepare to make a major announcement - report

By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Newcastle are set to imminently announce that Rafael Benitez is staying on as manager, according to Micky Quinn.

The former Magpies striker and talkSPORT presenter claimed on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning that the club would confirm “later on” the “great news” that  Benitez will remain to lead the team in the Championship next season.

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.

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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.

With the likelihood growing that terms have now been agreed, it said 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.