Report outlines reason behind Mike Ashley’s planned meeting with Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez’s future as Newcastle United boss is in doubt.

According to the Mirror, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has planned a meeting with Rafa Benitez in the next 24 hours in order to convince the Spaniard to stay on as manager.

The report claims that Ashley is willing to pull out all the stops in order to ensure Benitez stays, and the former Liverpool manager has hinted he would like to remain at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship has prompted plenty of questions over Benitez’s future.

The 56-year-old has seemingly built up a rapport with the Newcastle supporters and there is no denying that since his arrival at the club, performances on the pitch have improved.

However, Benitez is a renowned coach in world football having had spells on Merseyside, in Naples and in the Spanish capital Madrid, and it is hard to envisage him plying his trade in the Championship.

One of his former clubs Valencia is said to be keen on him, reported in the article by the Mirror, and he would surely have the option to pick up another top job in either of Spain, Italy or Germany.

But his family is settled in Newcastle, and Benitez has hinted he could even stay, saying: “I like the idea, I am really pleased here, I am flattered with the support that I have from everyone.”

The planned meeting is for Ashley to convince Benitez to remain in the job, although there are clearly a few issues that need straightening out for that to happen - notably with respect to transfers.

Benitez will likely want full control over which signings arrive at the club, and that is one area where the Magpies owner must re-evaluate as their current format evidently has not produced the best results.

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