Newcastle United are on the brink of appointing Rafael Benitez as their new manager.
This is according to the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope, who understands the Magpies want the Spanish coach to take charge before Monday night’s Premier League clash against Leicester City.
However, Newcastle must first sack Steve McClaren. The former England head coach was expected to be axed earlier this week, following Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth, but he still remains in charge at St James’ Park for the time being.
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Talks between Benitez’s representatives and Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley are understood to have been “very encouraging”, with the former keen to return to work after being sacked by Real Madrid in January.
The 55-year-old knows English football well from his time at Liverpool and then Chelsea, and his appointment would be a huge coup for the Magpies.
Benitez would be 'manager' - not 'head coach'
Newcastle currently sit 19th in the Premier League table with 10 matches left to play and Benitez would have an immensely difficult job on his hands keeping the club in the top flight.
The Spaniard wants to be in full control at Newcastle and has demanded the title of ‘manager’ rather than ‘head coach’.
Benitez's glittering CV
Newcastle fans are keen for the club to sack McClaren and would welcome the appointment of the experienced Benitez, who has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his managerial career.
The 55-year-old won two La Liga titles and the UEFA Cup with Valencia, before moving on to Liverpool where he won the FA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and, of course, the UEFA Champions League.
Benitez won the Supercoppa Italiana and the FIFA Club World Cup during his short spell with Inter Milan, and lifted the Europa League trophy during his interim spell with Chelsea in 2013.
With Napoli he won the Supercoppa Italiana for a second time, plus the Coppa Italia, and then he landed his dream job at the Bernabeu.
Unfortunately for Benitez, the dream turned sour and Real Madrid’s trigger-happy president Florentino Perez wielded the axe following pressure from fans in January.
Benitez can make himself an instant Newcastle hero
He now has a chance to make himself an instant hero in the eyes of thousands of Geordies by keeping Newcastle in the Premier League.
Newcastle United fans: is Rafael Benitez the best man for the job? Let us know by leaving a comment below.