Steve McClaren may still be Newcastle United's head coach for now but it looks for all the world that he will soon be replaced by Rafa Benitez.
The former England manager took training at Newcastle's complex on Thursday amid reports claimed that he was set to be dismissed by managing director Lee Charnley. That was not the case, but it is still expected that he will not be in charge for Monday's game against Leicester City.
According to the Mirror, McClaren has not heard a single word from the St James' Park officials with regards to his future and has only seen what the media have been reporting.
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Meanwhile, talks are continuing with former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Benitez. Any deal will be convoluted and laden with clauses. Benitez will have no desire to manage a Championship club next season while he will also want more control over transfers.
With Newcastle looking to push a deal with the Spanish manager through by Friday, it is believed they are willing to offer him a sizeable £4m-a-year deal. To put that in context, it is four times as much as McClaren's current pay packet.
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Talks with Benitez
A three-year deal is believed to be on the table but that will only come into effect if Newcastle can save themselves from relegation in their final 10 games this season. Currently, they sit 19th but are just one point away from safety and also have a game in hand on those around them.
It has been reported that Mike Ashley is travelling to Newcastle to oversee the change. They have no plans to confirm anything officially until a deal with Benitez is sealed.
Players behind him
One man still sticking up for McClaren is Newcastle's January signing Jonjo Shelvey. The midfielder has been impressive since joining from Swansea but has, of course, struggled to inspire those around him.
The England international said he hoped McClaren would stay in charge and that he would continue to give his best for him until he is let go.
He told reporters: “It’s obviously a sticky situation and Steve is at the forefront of it —which he doesn’t deserve, to be honest. But it is what it is.
"It’s nice to know what Steve thinks of me, and I think a lot of him also. We’ve got to play for him while he’s still in charge and hopefully he stays in charge. You can never believe something until it has happened.
“We’ve been very professional this week and we’ve trained really well."
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