Rafael Benitez and Newcastle remain in talks more than a week after the Spaniard could have walked away from St James’ Park.
Neither the 56-year-old nor the Magpies have activated the release clause in the three-year contract they negotiated back in March should the club be relegated from the Barclays Premier League.
Instead, discussions which began after Sunderland ‘s victory over Everton on May 11 confirmed Newcastle’s drop into the Sky Bet Championship are ongoing with both parties hopeful that formal agreement will be reached sooner rather than later.
Indeed, work is continuing behind the scenes on the basis that that will be the case with the first bunch of players due to return for pre-season training on June 28, six days after the Championship fixtures are announced.
Supporters have grown anxious at the delay in confirming Benitez’s continued presence or otherwise, although sources close to the talks have insisted there is nothing sinister in the protracted nature of the negotiations, which were always expected to last weeks rather than days.
Benitez has already started to identify potential signings should he remain in post, perhaps an indication of his mindset.
However he is well aware that other jobs could become available over the next few weeks and months and until an announcement is made that is staying, Toon fans will be unable to rest easy.