Rafa Benitez's £6m release clause at Newcastle has expired '“ but there's a catch

A release clause in Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United contract has expired '“ but he still can't be poached on the cheap.

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

There was a clause in Benitez’s deal stipulating that a club had to pay £6million to release him from his contract, which runs until next summer.

That clause has now expired, though United’s manager would still have to pay the club £6million if he walked out.

However, any club wishing to employ Benitez between now and next summer will now have to negotiate his release with Newcastle – and the club would demand at least £6million.

Benitez – who has put off talks on a new deal until after the August 9 transfer deadline – has been involved in a stand-off with owner Mike Ashley this summer.

Ashley wanted Benitez to sign a new deal before agreeing a transfer budget.

As it stands, Benitez – who guided United to a 10th-placed finish in the Premier League last season – must sell to buy in the transfer market.

Benitez again voiced his concerns over transfers after Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium.

“I am speaking with (managing director) Lee Charnley every day, but not with him (Ashley),” said Benitez, who takes his squad to Portugal later this week for friendlies against Porto and Braga.

“The main thing is to do what we have to do – I do not have to speak to Mike.

“There could be a new signing in time for Portugal, but then I was expecting things before.

“As I have said before, if we have new players coming, it will be good. It will be better than nothing.”

Asked if there was money to spend, Benitez said: “That’s a question for Lee Charnley.”

Benitez, while frustrated, is not understood to be looking to leave St James’s Park before his contract expires.

However, the 58-year-old will not sign a new deal unless he is convinced the club’s ambitions match his own.