Rafa Benitez has put contract talks with Newcastle United on hold, with Leicester City keen on poaching the Spaniard, according to the Daily Mirror.
Benitez’s current deal expires in June, but it is understood that the Spanish manager is eager to keep the focus on his side’s battle for Premier League survival as opposed to his own personal discussions.
It is now believed that Benitez will come under pressure to deliver a quick decision once the Magpies’ fate is decided, but that he is looking for reasons to extend his stay on Tyneside beyond the summer.
It’s difficult to tell if this is bad news or not for Newcastle United. On the one hand, by stalling, Benitez is seemingly casting doubt over his willingness to commit to a new deal at St. James’ Park, but on the other, if he is truly trying to retain focus on the club’s push for survival, then that could be a good thing. Perhaps a more cynical, or realistic, way to view things is that the manager doesn’t want to tie himself to a sinking ship, and if Newcastle do go down this season, despite his best efforts, the last thing Benitez will want is another year in the Championship. He is far too good a manager for that, and honestly, nobody would hold it against him if he did decide to up and leave should the worst come to the worst. Benitez has done a wonderful job on Tyneside despite the regressive nature of Mike Ashley’s ownership, and truthfully, he deserves another chance at winning trophies elsewhere.