Newcastle boss Benitez will sign new deal if Ashley gives the Spaniard what he wants

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RAFA BENITEZ has for the first time confirmed he WILL sign a new deal at Newcastle – if club chiefs give him what he wants.

The Toon manager’s contract expires in the summer and he has previously stayed tight-lipped on his future.

Newcastle currently sit 14th in the Premier League table following the 2-0 defeat against Arsenal
EPA

But Benitez broke his silence to reveal talks have re-opened over extending his stay at St James’ Park.

And the Spaniard admits Newcastle are the only club he is interested in and he is now “waiting for answers” from managing director Lee Charnley.

Benitez wants a sizeable transfer budget, full control of recruitment and changes made to the training ground and academy.

He has submitted those demands to MD Charnley and is ready to put pen to paper if his requests are approved.

Benitez, 58, said: “The only club I’m talking about my future with now is Newcastle United and I’m waiting for an answer.

“I was talking with Lee Charnley. We were talking and now we are waiting.

“They were coming with something, we are coming with something and that’s it – the ball is in their court.

“I will not give details about the conversation we had but it took place some days ago.”

There were claims this week that Benitez had signed up with a French agency and was eyeing a job in Ligue 1.

The only club I’m talking about my future with now is Newcastle United.


Rafa Benitez

But he insisted: “I read a story that I had a meeting in France on March 6 but I was here training, having lunch and left at seven or eight in the evening.

“There’s too much speculation and people talking too much

“At the moment it’s very clear – the only conversation I have is with Newcastle.”

The positive news on Benitez’s future comes ahead of the clash with Crystal Palace which would all but seal his side’s safety.

Newcastle are looking to make it six straight league wins at St James’ Park for the first time since 2004.

And Benitez added: “We have the feeling in the city and in the squad that maybe one win will be enough.

“But the main thing for us is not to waste too much energy on that.


“If we get 38 points then maybe – but 40 is the target for me.”

Newcastle (3-4-3): Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune; Yedlin, Shelvey, Ki, Ritchie; Perez, Rondon, Almiron.

Schar returns from suspension. Hayden, Diame, Yedlin and Joselu all face late fitness tests. Longstaff (knee) is out for the season.

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