Rafa Benitez 'in talks over three-year Newcastle deal'

Real Madrid's Spanish coach Rafael Benitez
Image: Rafa Benitez is understood to be interested in replacing Steve McClaren

Sources close to Rafa Benitez claim a three-year deal for him to take charge at Newcastle is currently being discussed.

Benitez, who is without a club after being sacked by Real Madrid in January, tops a wish-list of managers who the club would like to put in charge should they decide to dispense with current boss Steve McClaren. 

Sky sources reported on Wednesday that Newcastle made an approach for the Spaniard, who is keen to bring his own backroom staff to the club and wants the title of 'manager' rather than 'head coach'. 

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Newcastle are thought to be considering scrapping their current policy of employing a head coach in order to lure Benitez to St James' Park. 

Steve McClaren arrived at the club's Darsley Park training complex as normal on Thursday shortly after 8am and will continue to prepare the first-team squad for their clash against Premier League leaders Leicester City on Monday Night Football

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Steve McClaren of Newcastle
Image: Steve McClaren of Newcastle

His position as head coach looked no closer to being resolved on Wednesday, despite speaking to managing director Lee Charnley on the telephone in the afternoon. 

The pair were initially due to meet for talks but their planned meeting did not take place. 

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McClaren will not face the media on Thursday ahead of Newcastle's trip to the King Power Stadium and will hold further discussions with Charnley following training.

Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth condemned Newcastle to their fifth loss in six matches and left them in 19th place in the Premier League table. 

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