EXCLUSIVE

Newcastle United could be facing a transfer exodus this summer if they fail to get manager Rafael Benitez tied down to a new deal, according to Danny Mills.

The former England defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claims that the Spanish boss is “integral” to keeping the Magpies’ top stars, suggesting that players signed for the manager rather than the club.

Benitez, who has spent three years at St James’ Park after replacing Steve McLaren in the dugout, sees his current deal on Tyneside expire at the end of June.

Mills claims that a lack of clarity over the manager’s future will be having an impact on the dressing room, suggesting players could be casting glances elsewhere the longer the situation goes on.

Asked by Football Insider if uncertainty over Benitez could lead to players looking to leave, Mills said: “Definitely. I think players will want stability, a lot of those players will have signed for Rafael Benitez, not just Newcastle. They’ll be thinking ‘Okay, where’s Rafa going?’ Am I going to play? Rafa likes me, brilliant, then I’ve got a great chance of playing.’

“Suddenly the manager goes, that changes everything. It’s an unusual situation but a lot of those players, I’d say that Rafa was integral as to whether they stay or go. That needs to be nailed down very, very quickly. If it hasn’t been done internally, it needs to be sorted.

“A lot of those players will be thinking ‘I like Rafa, I like the way he plays, he understands me.’ It’s absolutely vital for Newcastle that they nail the managerial position because the rest of the club is pretty unstable and players don’t want to sign for an unstable club.”

There has been plenty of speculation over the Magpies following the end of the season, with Middle East based Bin Zayed Group publicly declaring their interest in securing a takeover from current owner Mike Ashley.

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