While we are still waiting for official confirmation from Newcastle United, it looks as though Steve McClaren has, as expected, been dismissed from his role as head coach.
Sky Sports claim their sources within St James' Park have informed them that McClaren will not be in charge for Monday's game against Leicester City with Rafa Benitez expected to replace him.
It is a surprising turn of events as McClaren reported to Newcastle's training ground on Thursday morning to take a session with the first team as usual.
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But what is more surprising is a claim from Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder, who tweeted to say that McClaren learned of his imminent sacking through that very same Sky Sports report rather than being told by club officials.
If true, it is a pretty classless act from the Magpies, who have failed to keep a lid on their discussions with other managers too. Indeed, it has been widely reported that they have been in contact with former Real Madrid boss Benitez as well as David Moyes, who is unemployed after ill-fated spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad.
Here is the original report from Sky Sports:
Benitez coming in
When it was originally mooted that Benitez could take over at Newcastle, it was believed it would be on an interim basis until the end of the season. However, reports are now saying that the Spaniard, a Champions League winner, has agreed a three-year deal.
It is a stunning coup from Mike Ashley, who will have surely had to put assurances over Newcastle's precarious position in the Premier League and their ambitions for the future. They currently sit in 19th place but are just one point away from safety with a game in hand.
Benitez would certainly provide a boost for the remaining nine games of the season, but a manager of his prestige will surely not want to be coaching in England's second tier if the worst should happen.
Ryder has since tweeted a retraction from his original claim, saying that McClaren has not been officially dismissed yet. He left the Newcastle training ground today looking pretty glum, but the latest is that he remains the boss.
Is Rafa Benitez the man to save Newcastle United?
Have they treated Steve McClaren unfairly?
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