The 56-year-old is making all the right noises as he edges towards opting to stay at St James’ Park and lead the fight for promotion back to the Premier League.
But despite his interest in what is on the table after holding talks with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley, the door remains open for another opportunity to come his way.
Benitez, who has been overwhelmed by a swell of public support, is understood to have sought a series of assurances in those talks.
He has been encouraged by what he has heard in response, to the point where he has already cast a glance over a series of potential transfer targets.
There was an acceptance on his arrival that the break-clause negotiated in his three-year contract would almost certainly be activated in the event of relegation.
But there’s now a big chance Benitez will stay, although a formal agreement is yet to be reached and discussions are ongoing.