Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United must address contractual issues

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United must tackle the club’s squad – with a raft of players out of contract in the next year.

Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United must tackle the club’s squad – with a raft of players out of contract in the next year.

Defensive pair Steven Taylor and Kevin Mbabu are out of contract this summer.

And Papiss Cisse, Yoan Gouffran, Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote have deals which expire next year.

United manager Benitez, close to agreeing to stay and manage the relegated club in the Championship, has held more talks with managing director Lee Charnley.

Newcastle hope the 56-year-old – who has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave this summer – will sign a revised contract this week after being given written assurances over a number of issues.

Benitez, however, has already been working on recruitment, player retention and pre-season plans.

The early indications were that Taylor, 30, would be leaving St James’s Park this summer, but there is still a chance he could stay at St James’s Park.

Kevin Mbabu impressed when called upon by former head coach Steve McClaren, linked with the vacant Rotherham United job, out of position at left-back, but he missed the second half of the campaign through injury.

The club is yet to reveal whether the 21-year-old is to stay at the club.

High-earning pair Cisse and Tiote are expected to leave this summer, while versatile Anita has indicated that he is willing to stay and play in English football’s second tier.

Gouffran’s future is less clear, and the forward’s wage is a stumbling block to any move away from the club.

Meanwhile, United have been linked with a move for Fulham’s Ross McCormack.

The striker has a £12million release clause in his contract, and Aston Villa and Norwich City, also relegated from the Premier League, have also been credited with an interest in McCormack.