Newcastle owner Mike Ashley will swallow his pride and part with his cash as he prepares to offer Rafa Benitez a £50m transfer budget in order to keep him at St James’ Park this summer.
Benitez has been linked with the vacant managerial position at West Ham since David Moyes was sacked on Wednesday and there have also been sporadic rumours that he could succeed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
The Spaniard guided Newcastle to 10th place in the Premier League on a shoestring budget but was said to be reluctant to commit his future to the Magpies unless given assurances of a bigger amount to spend next season.
Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol claimed that Newcastle would reject any approach for their manager, and Benitez would agree to stay as long as he was backed in the transfer market.
“If Rafa Benitez gets the assurances that he’s looking for at Newcastle, then he will stay at Newcastle,” said Solhekol, quoted by the Daily Express.
“Newcastle are very relaxed about the situation because they believe he’s got a watertight contract, he’s got what’s being described to me as a hefty release clause. I think the release clause is around £6m.
“West Ham would love to have him, but I think it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get him out of Newcastle United this summer.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail are reporting that Benitez will get a £50m transfer budget as Ashley is finally ready to give his manager the assurances he has been seeking. If fringe players are offloaded early, this could rise to £70m.
West Ham have promised their fans that they are aiming to appoint “a high-calibre first-team manager, who has a proven record both in the Premier League and European football.” Benitez would fit this description perfectly.
Benitez has Premier League experience with Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle, and has also managed in Spain and Italy.