Rafael Benitez has agreed to remain at Newcastle United, following positive talks with club owner Mike Ashley ahead of their return to the Premier League.
The Spaniard was unable to prevent the Magpies slipping out of the top-flight when he replaced Steve McClaren in March 2016, after which he was widely expected to leave St James Park. However, having been given assurances that he can have full control of transfers, he decided to stay in the North East and last weekend he led them to the Championship title and a top-flight comeback.
Even so, it was by no means guaranteed that he would stick around to oversee their return to the big-time. It was widely reported that Benitez would seek further assurance from Ashley about transfer funds and the direction in which the club were heading, and these talks have now taken place to a satisfactory conclusion with the 57-year-old agreeing to remain in charge next season.
An official club statement from Newcastle read: “It was agreed by all parties that the meeting was very positive and constructive. Mike again congratulated Rafa and his team on gaining promotion to the Premier League as champions. Plans for next season were discussed, including the purchase and loan of players to add to the squad in readiness for the Premier League season.”
According to Sky Sports News HQ, Benitez has been promised in excess of £70million to spend on new players when the transfer window reopens. This includes access to all the funds generated from promotion once the cost of running the club is deducted, and the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Napoli coach will also be able to keep any funds raised from sales.
“I’m pleased with how the meeting went and the positive approach we are all taking together to build on what we have started this season,” Benitez said. “There will be challenges ahead of course, the summer will not be easy, but the hard work has been going on for some time and we can now continue positively with the development of the squad ahead of the start of the new season.”