Newcastle United have confirmed that manager Rafael Benitez will leave the club at the end of his contract.
A club statement said that “it has not been possible” to reach an agreement with Benitez and his representatives over a renewal of his current deal.
Does Benitez exit leave Newcastle in big trouble? Five things to know…
- The Spaniard became manager of Newcastle United in 2016.
- Benitez immediately endeared himself with the Newcastle fans by staying with the club following relegation to the Championship.
- He guided them to a return to the top-flight at the first time of asking and achieved a top-half finish in their first season back.
- Benitez’s Newcastle are the only team to beat Manchester City in the league in 2019.
- Benitez had the highest win percentage (41%) of any Newcastle manager since Chris Hughton.
The club are “disappointed” that they were unable to agree a new deal with Benitez, according to an official statement released on Monday morning.
It read: “It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benítez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019.
“We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however [sic] it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.
“Rafa’s coaching staff, Paco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez and Mikel Antia, will also leave the club on 30th June.
“We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved.
“We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty.
“The process to appoint a successor will now begin.”
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Newcastle are currently in a state of uncertainty following the proposed takeover of the club by the Bin Zayed group. Current owner Mike Ashley is keen to sell up and has therefore been reluctant to invest in new players for a number of years.
Benitez had previously bemoaned this lack of investment in the squad before Newcastle broke their transfer record with the £21m signing of Paraguayan midfielder Miguel Almiron in January of this year. Despite this signing, Benitez ended his spell at the club with a net spend of -£11.2m.