Mike Ashley ready to finalise Newcastle United agreement with Rafa Benitez

Mike Ashley is ready to sit down with Rafa Benitez to finalise an agreement – after a week of talks.

Benitez, out of contract this summer, met Ashley in London late last week to discuss a new deal at Newcastle United.

The meeting followed the club’s 4-0 season-ending win over Fulham at Craven Cottage, which was watched by owner Ashley.

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Long-distance discussions, led by managing director Lee Charnley, have continued between the two parties.

Benitez is looking for a competitive transfer budget – Ashley is prepared to sanction a £100million spend over four windows which would be supplemented by money from player sales – and more autonomy in the market.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

The 59-year-old is also wants the club to offer more competitive wages.

“Even if you’re willing to pay a big transfer fee, you have to be willing to pay the wages,” said Benitez last month.

Benitez believes that the club should be competing for European football and trophies.

Speaking after the Fulham game, United’s manager said: “I can see the potential of this massive club. Hopefully, we can do things in a way that will be good for everyone to move forward, maybe together.”

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley.

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley.

Benitez hasn’t spoken since the end of the season, and the club, which finished 13th in the league, has made no comment on the negotiations, which could even carry on into next week.

Ashley is on standby to meet Benitez again to shake hands on a deal should Benitez and Charnley finalise an agreement.